The app which helps to store photos, videos and mementoes has had a 400% increase in users since the UK was placed into lockdown.
While for some people lockdown has been a time to relax and be creative, for others it has been difficult.
According to a survey by the Mental Health Foundation in early April, not long after lockdown was imposed, one in four (24%) said they had feelings of loneliness in the “previous two weeks”.
When the same question was asked shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people (10%) said they had these feelings.
An app created by a Londoner with a previous background in law, has helped people reflect on this time positively by writing about their family’s experience; as well as enabling children, parents and grandparents to stay connected despite not being able to meet in person.
Charlotte McMillan, from Highbury, London, originally launched the app in December 2017 after realising how time with her children “was racing by”.
After struggling to capture and record memories in a meaningful way, Charlotte, who was reluctant to throw away physical mementoes like her children’s artwork, school certificates and programmes from school performances, decided to create a system that would help store all the memories that those objects held.
“I felt that I was lacking a place to pull it all together, to capture all the stories that make up family life before they get lost in the business of the day to day, and I figured that the problem I was experiencing wasn’t unique to me,” she told Oh My Goodness.
That’s when she came up with an idea of creating a private space for people to capture and preserve the fabric of their lives, to enjoy, to relive and to pass on to future generations without the worry of losing track of them across several different digital devices.
The app, which has helped to store Charlotte’s own collection of items such as family heirlooms, menus from special occasions, wine labels, letters and postcards from friends, gig tickets and mementoes from her travels has helped remove the “inevitable demise” of things that may usually be stored in shoeboxes under beds or in the attic.
Charlotte then wondered about how the details and feelings that were left behind in these items would be preserved, such as what someone said or where she was when that memory was created.
Fascinated by people’s personal stories she decided to make it easy for people to capture the details as they go along.
“How many times have you said, or thought ‘you must write that down before you forget’ and yet it’s too easy to put it off. I wanted to make it easy for people to capture the details as they go along, and to retrieve memories from the past.
“I’m using Storychest both as a journal of what we’re doing now, but also as a way of resurfacing important moments from the past – like postcards sent to me when I was a child, or memories of cooking with my grandmother and the recipes she passed on to me,” she added.
Storychest acts as a digital scrapbook that allows people of all ages to record their unique and personal story; by writing about what has happened throughout their lives and their aspirations and dreams for the future.
One user, Michael Cameron-Smith from North Yorkshire, who has recently become a new Dad, has been using Storychest to record the early moments of his baby’s life for him to look back on.
He said: “Our family and friends say how lovely it is to wake up to these happy little stories as opposed to rubbish news.”
Users have the freedom to keep adding to the tool whenever they are triggered by happy or sad memories from the past.
Charlotte added: “At the moment we are living through an unprecedented time, which is momentous from a social history perspective, but which also has starkly highlighted some vulnerabilities in our society.
“Right from the beginning of lockdown we identified that the older generation and those who have been required to shield could potentially suffer as a result of isolation and loneliness, and we actively sought out ways to support them.”
Since lockdown began on March 23, Storychest has seen a 400% increase in new monthly registered users.
While Charlotte has plans to make the app available for Android phones, Storychest is currently only available on the Apple store.
The app offers a free trial period and then has a monthly subscription of £2.99.
If you would like to learn more you can visit the Storychest website.
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