While the vast majority of people saw the need for extreme measures to kerb the spread of Covid-19, lockdown still came as a bit of a shock. Few of us had ever experienced anything like it before and it had a profound effect on us all. Our day-to-day lives changed drastically as we were forced to stay at home and only go out for specific reasons. Working from home became the norm and ‘zooming’ became a lockdown buzzword, as communicating with many of our loved ones was only possible via a screen.
Because of the huge changes the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown brought about, I thought it was important to get a snapshot of how it affected the lives of those living in our ward. So I worked with long-time Hanover resident Liz Petty to compile the HEG lockdown survey, to find out how people had found probably the most restrictive months of their lives, and to give residents an opportunity to reflect on any positives. I’d like to say a very big thank you to Liz, along with Elm Grove residents Lisa Manning and Ciara Keown, for pulling the data together, making sense of the results and creating the report below.
I am very grateful too to the 238 of you who took the time to respond to the survey as it has given us a valuable insight into how lockdown affected aspects of your daily lives. The thank you section elicited a high number of responses, demonstrating how much kindness there is in our community, and the willingness of so many to help those who needed it most.
Residents really valued the support they got from the local Covid-19 Mutual Aid team and we cannot thank them enough. They supported residents in many ways, and by networking neighbours through WhatsApp groups, provided a much-needed line of communication for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Fellow councillor Steph Powell and I nominated two members of the local Mutual Aid group – Róisin O’Connor-Laurence and Sumitra Sribhashyam – as Covid-19 Community Champions, and we were proud that both received awards from the former mayor, Alex Phillips.
One very heart-warming thank you message shared in the survey was by a local parent to Mark, the manager of the Co-op, “for giving me pasta and pesto from his own cupboards for my autistic son, when everyone stockpiled at the start of lockdown”.
While, lockdown was hard for most, the results of the survey have highlighted our community’s kindness and resilience. And it has taught us a few lessons. One resident commented that we have been able to survive and thrive with less, showing we never really needed in all in the first place! A large number of respondents said they have enjoyed the quieter streets, the reduction in traffic and the cleaner air – and would like these to continue.
I too, along with the other two Green councillors in our ward, David Gibson and Steph Powell, hope we can hold on to some of the positives that have come out of this crisis as we move forward.