Covid-19 Stories Blog

COVID-19 COMMUNITY STORIES

These stories have been kindly shared by ordinary people in our and your community. They form part of our resources for teachers and community / youth workers seeking to process the events of Covid-19 within their schools, community projects and well-being settings. We are inviting written or oral contributions from people of all ages and all sections of our community so do please share this page freely or download our E-POSTER. For more info and to give a voice to your story please download one of the following forms:

       Worker perspective        Personal perspective        Child Perspective

For detailed questions that help with putting a story together, either your own, or those of people you are working with / interviewing, please download one of the following sheets. They can be edited to suit your specific purpose.

Questions - worker       Questions - adult / young person       Questions - child / young person

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"As a Primary Deputy Head I am keen to source real accounts of different people’s experiences of life since lockdown due to the coronavirus. It is vital for pupils to hear about these experiences to support their understanding of how others have and are coping and to develop empathy with different people."

Nigel Watson, Coldean Primary School, Brighton 

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Thank you to East Brighton Trust for funding this project.

 Some names and places have been altered to protect identities.

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» Listings for July 2020

  1. Iona, age 7 yrs

    A really big event happened in Lockdown. Me and Will, my twin brother, got bikes, with 21 gears to be precise. We had 6 yr old bikes and we’re nearly 8 so it’s really, really good now we have bigger bikes to ride. We’re allowed to cycle around 5 of the streets just around our house. I go on a pogo stick a bit sometimes and Adam at the bottom road, he gave me an old 2-wheeled scooter. I go scooting the streets that we’re allowed to go down, and on the Thursday night clapping we go round and round on our bikes, saying hello to everyone. Sometimes we cycle about looking for treasures but so far we’ve only found flowers and stuff like that.

    smashing stonesWhen I wake up we have breakfast and we walk round the block and then come back in to ‘go to school’.  My dad teaches us every day and my mum twice a week as she’s mostly trapped upstairs; she has to do her own homework. She does phone calls and skype – she’s basically an NHS person. We have a ‘times tables’ for lockdown. First it’s Maths time, then English time, break time. Then Arts and Crafts and lunch time of course. Sometimes it’s ‘Outdoor Project’ and once we had to hammer down bricks and tiles for a patio. It’s very different to normal school, we would be in class full of children  but we’re sitting in a kitchen with just two people which can be boring, but it’s kind of nice ‘cause you can go grab a drink when you want and at school you have to wait till break or lunch to do that. 

    In the beginning of lockdown it felt like I was trapped indoors and wasn’t allowed anywhere, but I got used to it. Obviously it’s just different. It’s a really big thing to get to go in the car somewhere, even just a mile. The other day we went in the car to pick something up at Halfords and it was actually really fun. My dad built a balcony for the tree-house and it’s so nice, I go in there every evening. The first friend I saw when we were allowed was Cleo who I’ve known about 6 yrs. There was enough space for us to play in the tree-house together and it was really fun.

    We’ve had so much deliveries and I’ve had my birthday present delivered already! My friend’s birthday was spoilt by lockdown because she was going to have a treasure hunt and none of us could go, sad times. But I am going shopping on my Birthday and I think it’s quite nice that Boris Johnson is letting us go to the shops.

    tree house small adjusted

    I sometimes get a bit fed up with my family    - I see the same people every single day - and I go in my tree-house. Will likes to say it’s ‘his’ tree-house too but he never goes in there. My parents are never in it so then finally I can be by myself. I make potions sometimes and it’s peaceful, except for noisy people passing by on the street but I say hello and chat a bit with the ones I know, like Daisy, and Janet from across the road.

     

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  2. Will, age 7 yrs

    Lockdown is stupid. You can barely spend any time with friends and they’re not allowed in your house. Next Monday is the 6th July and I’ll be inviting someone round to play Minecraft with me. I like it because it’s quite creational and I can build things. Sometimes I’m just thinking about what I can build next. In the beginning of lock-down I went to the park and did a bit of biking or we played football as a family, but sometimes, when Iona, my twin sister, doesn’t want someone to have the ball, she just lies on top of it and I have to kick it out from under her!

    I really like football and play in the garden. We helped our dad make a patio here and it’s good for playing football because it’s quite flat. I practise skateboarding on it too, up and down, up and down. We helped by flattening the rubble out and spreading it all around so my dad could put slabs on it. It was a long job and I enjoyed helping but sometimes it got a bit boring so me and Iona started doing challenges like “biggest pile smashed down is a winner” and we even made pretend things out of the rubble as a game.

    smashing stones

    Recently I’ve been able to play a lot with my friends at the park. But football with friends, how do you social distance in that?! I would usually tackle because that’s my style. My dad always says “try to pass and shoot” and we mostly stay apart from each other but not always. One time I scored such a goal, I didn’t even expect it at all and it went right in – and my friend Louis, he swung me round like anything. He just doesn’t understand social distancing. A lot of people run around like lock-down isn’t a thing, like it’s a legend. I think it’s ok though ‘cause it’s near to the end of it. Schoolchildren are going back to school so they’re already learning and mixing.

     I don’t like going to school at home ‘cause I like my proper teacher. Dad pushes us quite hard and mum is just so relaxed. My real teacher has done 2 videos though. Because I’ve finished all my maths sheet she said I’ll get a charter star when we get back to school so I was pleased. I’ve done a bit of skype video with my friends but I kind of don’t like it – seeing your friend but on a screen, like your friend turns out to be a computer.I’m looking forward to going back to school, I’ll be able to see my friends for real, every day.

    Boy on bike

    I quite like going on walks and it’s been good now that I can go with a friend.  Mum loves to walk and I take my bike quite a lot. Iona and I both got new bikes in lockdown. My friend Louis loves the steep hill but I love it more, I like going on really fast stuff; when I’m coming down the hill like that it feels like I’m flying.

    One of our gerbils, Brownie, has died in lockdown. We were watching a programme about people escaping from their homes, and then we found her. I felt sad and wondered if she got a gerbil virus. I carried her to the grave and we planted a sunflower over her because gerbils like sunflower seeds and Brownie liked them very much.

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  3. Surgery

    I work as a GP in a small rural surgery in the South West of England. Our area has been relatively unaffected by  the Covid illness – we have had less than 10 confirmed cases in our patient population of just over 5000 people and all of those cases have had only minor symptoms (and came from the local hospital). It has been extraordinary to see and read about the situation in other areas of the country and the devastating effect that the illness has had on care home communities.

    My job involves the diagnosis and management of health conditions. In comparison to so many people who have been furloughed, or worse, my working life has continued as normal, however the substance of my working day has changed immeasurably. Faced with the challenge of looking after those people in society with the most fragile health without increasing their risk of catching a potentially fatal infection, my practice rapidly switched to different patterns of working and means of communication.

    Previously, our working day was based on seeing 30 people, face-to-face, with booked appointments. Overnight, we stopped these to avoid direct contact where possible and reduce the risks of transmitting the disease. We started using telephone calls, text messages, emails and video consultations to look after our patients. These options have existed for the last 10 years, but we have always been too busy to contemplate a change that would be so disruptive to our staff and patients. Our patients have been extremely understanding and it is testament to their resilience that there have been no complaints.

    Doctor hands phone

    Despite these changes, I think that we would still be at risk of being overwhelmed if there were high levels of Covid infection in our area. My colleagues and I can see on the news what happens to health services in areas of high Covid infection, but what we have not seen and cannot predict is what happens to the general health of an area when, overnight, GPs change how they work and potentially sick people try to avoid contact with everyone, including their doctors. How many cancers may have been missed, or high blood pressures, which might lead to heart attacks or strokes?

    Early on in the crisis, I watched a video from a thoughtful and impressive GP, who was working at a Covid assessment unit in London. He described assessing patients with suspected Coronavirus and working out whether they needed to be admitted to hospital or not. What struck me the most was the advice to counsel the patients being admitted to ‘say goodbye’ to their families, since they would not be allowed visitors in the hospital and might never see them again. I cannot forget this.

    These situations were not exclusive to people infected with the virus. Hospitals and care homes shut their doors to all visitors in order to reduce the risk of infection. With hospitals representing separation from loved ones as well as the most likely place to catch the disease, I have had many conversations with people who are unwell and in other circumstances would definitely be requiring admission to hospital, but who chose to remain at home to avoid Coronavirus.

    Going forward, I suspect that my job will not be the same again. The over-worn phrase ‘the new normal’ has truth and I am hard pushed to think of an aspect of my working or home life that will not have be affected by the pandemic. My hope is that this can provide an opportunity to improve systems and beliefs that have continued for many years ‘just because’. Fingers crossed.

    David, General Practitioner

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  4. One of the things that has impressed me most about life during the Covid-19 crisis, is how inventive people have become, not just in how we work, but how we communicate, and support one another.

    Marilyn Cutts as Frau Gerda

    I am a professional actor and at the beginning of April, I should have been in Lithuania, filming some commercials for a Baltic telecommunications company, one of my favourite gigs! The narrative follows the happenings in a restaurant, rather like the OXO family ads here a while ago, and I’ve been involved for the last four years as “Frau Gerda”.

    As foreign travel was impossible during lock down, none of the English actors could be there in person, so the clients came up with an ingenious solution enabling the commercials to run on. A “body double” kitted out in PPE, played my colleague’s part, the chef in the restaurant kitchen. With a visor and huge gloves it was impossible to tell it was not the original actor, as he tried, and failed, to chop vegetables, taste a sauce, and see through his misted goggles! The English actor supplied the sound track from a makeshift  studio in his daughter’s bedroom on the Isle of Wight, and the result was a comedic triumph! The saga of life in the restaurant continued, and we all hope to be back playing ourselves soon.

    Marilyn cook screenshot

    Self-tapes (where you record your audition at home and send it in) are an important part of how actors are considered for roles these days, but new restrictions have meant new challenges. A monologue is a doddle, but what about the other parts? To help out mates, I have recorded off-camera voices at home, and sent an audio file to the awaiting auditionee, for them to fill in their responses as required (tricky to time!). On other occasions I have been present, wearing a mask, and observing a two-metre distance,(sometimes al fresco), hoping my responses will still be picked up by the mobile phone recording us both. Fortunately, I never had to make myself heard through a window!

     Zoom script readings have been a particular joy, while online meetings have facilitated the work of the various acting charities, of which there are many. Supporting actors, stage management, and others whose livelihoods in theatres nationwide have suddenly dried up, has been crucial. The Actors Benevolent Fund, of which I am a Trustee, set up a 2020 Emergency Fund, and we have been able to continue our work and support throughout the year, thanks to I.T. and the generosity of the public! A performance of the musical version of David Walliams’ The Midnight Gang in which I played three old ladies (not all at the same time) and which deserved a far wider audience, achieved just that when it was streamed as part of the Chichester Festival Theatre Season. You may have seen a request for donations after such free streamed performances. Well, those donations have meant support not just for the theatres themselves, but for their staff, and charities such as the Actors Benevolent Fund. So, thank you!  All in all, my Covid-19 experience has taught me that isolation can lead to greater cooperation, and that’s a good thing!

    Marilyn

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