Corona Virus update from Emma Case added to the end this post, March 18th.
I’ve supported Emma Case’s Crowdfunder for this because I think it’s a great idea. In tough times I think there’s a tendency for us to focus only on tough things. But actually beautiful things are also what make life worth the living. And this is beautiful. So what’s the idea?
Well this is, at least, the roots of the idea.
Because Emma’s dad is Jimmy Case. Yes that Jimmy Case, who played for Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s, remember?
And memories are the thing. Emma’s got loads of stuff: photographs, memories and memorabilia. So have I, so have you, so have we all. But Emma’s also got a caravan and an idea. So here’s her idea, over to you Emma.
“My idea starts with the photos so many of us have got tucked away in shoe boxes or proudly displayed in old photo albums. The RED Project is a digital archive of fans’ personal photos of supporting Liverpool Football Club over the years. Collected alongside the fans, the archive will then be shared in creative and engaging ways through exhibitions, podcasts, books and events.
Football may be the thread, but this project is about PEOPLE. RED is a living, breathing archive, offering opportunities for all ages, to come together and connect. To reminisce, to socialise, create and for all of us to share our stories.”
The best way to look at our club is through the eyes of the fans.Ian Young, Liverpool Supporter
“The Crowdfunder is to help transform my 1969 vintage caravan into a mobile exhibition and archive hub! Heading to match days, community centres, libraries and at events all across the city, RED will be inviting fans to both enjoy and contribute to a growing legacy of their dedicated loyalty and support of our beloved team.
The £23,000 RED is aiming to raise through Crowdfunder will be used to fund the caravan renovation and take it on tour. After that there’s a stretch target of £40,000 to fund two public exhibitions and (after a successful pilot back in January) help to establish RED’s ‘Down Memory Lane’ sessions, taking the archive to Dementia groups and Residential homes all across the city.“
“I think it’s a really beautiful project in the sense that the community are going to be the people making the content.”Liz Wewiora, Head of Engagement, Open Eye Gallery
Which gets you thinking, doesn’t it? What might that content look like? Well some of it will look like this.
It will also look like our memories. Here’s a link to one of mine that I’ll be making sure is part of the RED Archive. About going round to Liverpool and Everton footballers’ houses in the 1960s collecting their autographs. What do you remember?
I know some of my memories, like ‘Autographs’ have been used around the country to help start discussions in communities and encourage people with dementia to remember precious things they might have almost forgotten. And RED will do these things too. Because our memories are the history of us, the making of us and the meanings of our lives. Like I said at the start up there, we’re not all about the tough things and the work we do, we’re also defined by the beautiful things, these things we love. And Emma Case’s RED Project is a beautiful thing that I hope you’ll want to help.
Here’s some more of what it will look like.
You know who some of these people are don’t you? And some of all those others, up on the terraces, or on their front doorsteps might also be people you know. Football in Liverpool doesn’t just happen in football grounds.
OK then? So RED needs your help. It’s a fans’ thing, a Liverpool thing, an LFC thing. Which means there are loads of us who can help Emma’s idea to happen. Loads already have, but lots more of us will need to dig into our pockets and our memories for her to reach her initial £23,000 target before the end of March. So make your pledge right here, right now.
We’ve all just heard because of you know why, that there won’t be any actual football before April, so maybe we can all fill in the time by replaying some memories instead, while we’re on our way to Emma’s Crowdfunder site?
One more memory of my own then:
It’s a late autumn day at Anfield, say 1968 and I’m standing on the Paddock, just old enough and tall enough to see over the wall now. We’re playing West Ham and Peter Thompson’s got the ball, over on the far side, in their half. We go quiet with expectation, as he does that crouching change of balance thing he does, and goes round whoever their full-back was. Maybe Billy Bonds? Expecting a cross we start screaming. Except Peter Thompson stops, looks back, smiles, and hands on his hips, goes back and feints his way round the full back again! This time he does cross. Maybe to Roger Hunt, or maybe to Ian St John and maybe they score? But what I remember is Peter Thompson. In that moment, on that day. The beauty, the magic and the glorious nerve of him.
Now I don’t have a RED photo of Peter Thompson to help hold and illustrate this memory yet, but maybe you’ve got one? And maybe a copy of that might end up in Emma’s Archive, in a RED Caravan exhibition? If we all dig in and help here at RED.
So here’s the link: The RED Project Crowdfunder. With lots more information about RED, including the rewards you’ll be able to claim by helping out. A great start’s already been made, and now it’s up to all of us to help Emma get to at least her £23,000 by the end of March. Go on!
“I think this project is hugely important because of what the project means to the city and certainly our community. When we’ve looked at places which are suffering from social isolation, I think bringing back those memories could be a real, real bonus and do real good in our communities.”Ian Byrne MP, Liverpool West Derby
Then a week after I wrote this, a special message arrived from Emma Case of The RED Project:
Firstly, we want to acknowledge the situation that we’re all currently facing in terms of the Coronavirus and above everything we want to send our love and support. We understand that this is going to be a scary time for many of us, financially, for our families and for our health.
For our Crowdfunder, promoting the campaign began to feel a little uncomfortable and we could see how the Covid-19 situation was considerably affecting pledges. Do we stop? Or do we carry on? We saw the joy when we shared photos and stories online and we kept thinking about the positive impact the project will have in the community. We’ve received so many encouraging messages from all of you and because of all of this, we didn’t want to give up.
We emailed Crowdfunder and they have, very graciously offered to switch our campaign from ‘all or nothing’ to ‘keep what you have raised’. Originally our campaign was set up so if we didn’t reach our target, every pledge would be refunded and we would get £0. Now, we get to keep everything we raise which is the most incredible news.
It means that we will be able to continue with the RED Project and we are so, so grateful for that.
We are aware that many parts of the project rely on getting together in person, the Caravan tour, the sessions at residential homes and with Dementia groups. We still want to renovate our caravan ready for when things return more to normality. But we would also like to be able to address our situation right now. In the interim, we are going to be looking at ways to still deliver the ethos of RED. We want to provide more opportunities to enjoy the photos and stories online, for fans to be able to join in.. to offer some joy, entertainment and connection whilst we all work on getting through this together.
We want to be completely transparent. As our initial campaign was set up as ‘all or nothing’ and now has changed to ‘flexible funding’, any supporters that wish to, are free to refund their pledge. You can do this via your ‘my pledges’ section (or get in touch and we can do it for you).
We are going to keep the Crowdfunder open and it will continue to run until the 30th March. If anyone you know still wants to pledge then they can, but rather than pushing for pledges like we have been, we will be focusing our energy on providing lots of warm and fuzzy memories and connecting with our community to spread some much needed joy.
We will also continue to keep you all updated and, once again, we thank you for your incredible support.
We hope everyone is staying safe, but also staying connected via technology as our mental health is just as important as our physical…
We also thought we would share some of the interviews we did over the past few weeks with BBC Merseyside, Liverpool TV and the Liverpool Echo. Everyone has been so incredibly supportive and it felt really lovely to be able to chat about RED, what we have planned, the amazing support you’ve all given and how it’s been such a personal journey too.
BBC Merseyside – Interview starts at 18.10
All photos courtesy of Emma Case and The Red Project. Individual photographers credited where we know your names.