The Lothian Diary Project is an interdisciplinary effort to collect self-recorded audio or video diaries of people’s experiences of COVID-19 in and around Edinburgh, Scotland. In this paper we describe how the project emerged from a desire to support community members. The diaries have been disseminated through public events, a website, an oral history project, and engagement with policymakers. The data collection method encouraged the participation of people with disabilities, racialized individuals, immigrants, and low-proficiency English/Scots speakers, all of whom are more likely to be negatively affected by COVID-19. This is of interest to sociolinguists, given that these groups have been under-represented in previous studies of linguistic variation in Edinburgh. We detail our programme of partnering with local charities to help ensure that digitally disadvantaged groups and their caregivers are represented. Accompanying survey and demographic data means that this self-recorded speech can be used to complement existing Edinburgh speech corpora. Additional sociolinguistic goals include a narrative analysis and a stylistic analysis, to characterize how different people engage creatively with the act of creating a COVID-19 diary, especially as compared to vlogs and other video diaries.