Everyone is affected differently during this pandemic, for some there is not too much change, for others the large change in daily life, finances, job security and illness are a cause for huge anxiety. For our guys most of those in jobs are in the hospitality or construction sector where all have been furloughed or laid off; for others they lose the community centres and support centres which is their structure, lifeline and which they often receive subsidised meals at these places, and for others they lose friendship, families and access to children.
However we have also seen many positives throughout this so far. We have been given funding to purchase items for the houses and the residents have come together and chosen games such as swingball, nets for badminton and gardening equipment, and we are seeing real communities forming in the houses where they cook together and hang out together. They have felt the kindness of the community with meals and funding to help with things like phone credit and technology, and have leaned on and supported each other as they each appreciate the difficulty and what triggers this additional isolation brings.
We hope that after this there will be some reflection; whereas many of us have struggled to cope with isolation and a lack of structure and security, perhaps it will bring new compassion towards who battle with this on a daily basis and how it affects mental health and motivation and people will see afresh just how brave and resilient our guys really are. Perhaps this is a tiny step towards ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’. We learn a lot from our residents and are challenged daily by they courage and resilience and we hope others will be too.