A writing group in Salford is helping people to reconnect with each other during the pandemic and provide them with something positive to focus on.

Swinton Writers in t’ Critchley House, or SWit’CH, usually meet every Wednesday at the Age UK Internet cafe in Swinton, but since lockdown they have moved the group online and now run their sessions on Zoom.

With a homework challenge set every week, the amateur writers are able to gain feedback on their creative pieces which can be from a range of genres.

Rosemary Swift is a regular member and she said SW’itCH has acted as a support network in the past few months.

She said: “We’ve lost close friends, including two from the virus.

“The fact that we’re getting older that’s what we’ve got to face but we’ve been able to find comfort in one another in the SWit’CH writing group.

“We’ve all only known each other one, two, or three years but it’s amazing the camaraderie.”

As their annual anthology this year is focused on their childhoods, Rosemary said it has been able to bring them even closer.

She said: “We’re of a similar age so it’s amazing how many shared memories we have of games we’ve played or the food we ate, the clothes we wore or holidays we went on.

“The fact that was chosen as our topic this year was a very inspired one.”

According to a study by the University of Cambridge expressive writing can be an effective tool in improving mental wellbeing.

Bill Cameron who leads the writing group said having something positive to focus on has been helpful to the writers.

He said: “We meet together and chat and complain about different things that are going on but we don’t let it get to us.

“The writing to some extent is an escape and a relief from day to day problems of the world.

“The self-satisfaction you get from sitting down with a challenge to write on a topic and producing 1500 words of entertaining writing – you get a real buzz inside of you.”

Since the first lockdown, SW’itCH has gained two new members and Bill said it’s great to have growth at a time he expected it to be the opposite.

Bill said: “Even the people who haven’t managed the technology, we’ve still been in touch with them.

“We’re all really looking forward to getting back together so we can meet and chat and enjoy the benefits of friendship.”

For more information on the SW’itCH visit their website here.

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