• Ruth Towell

Lockdown Reflections - Lydia

As we are standing on the turning point of the lockdown being eased in the UK, I decided to embark on a new portrait project. Capturing this moment in time, with reflections from individuals about this season and thoughts about how a post-lockdown world might look.

Each portrait is a window into an individual's life, shot through a window capturing the invisible separation that lockdown brings.

This is Lydia, have a read of her story:

"Prior to lockdown I worked part time as an Administrator at my church, and volunteered with Food Bank. My lockdown buddies are my husband and our 23 year old daughter - who is hoping to get married in September?!?

Life has changed hugely because both myself and my husband are furloughed from work so, like many others, have found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands! I am used to mixing with a lot of wonderful people each week at church, but this has been replaced by online services and zoom groups. Very grateful for this technology keeping us connected!

The greatest challenges are missing family and friends, and coping with many of the usual routines of life being taken away from me. I like structure! My lovely Mum is in a Care Home, in late stage Alzheimer’s, so I haven’t seen her since March 20th, and have been supporting my Dad who lives on his own. Obviously concerned for both of them! I am also a Grandma, just wanting to give my 3 year old granddaughter a cuddle...and her parents of course!

The positive things in lockdown are having this extra concentrated time with my daughter before she leaves home, picking up an old skill I thought I’d lost (baking!), learning a new skill (British Sign Language...I’m trying!) and having more time to appreciate nature around us. The birds sing so loudly these days!

My highlight of every fortnight is volunteering at Food Bank. I have served there for 7 years, heard some heart-breaking stories and met some amazing people. Before lockdown part of the session was listening to clients, signposting them to further help where needed, and speaking words of hope in to their situations.

Obviously, due to COVID-19, we can’t offer this service at the moment - we just have to greet people outside and provide the food parcels, which is a big change. We are very busy - use of Food Banks increased by 84% in April! However, I do still manage to have a quick (socially distanced) chat to see how they are doing. Some never thought they’d have to use a Food Bank in their lives, and feel anxious and embarrassed about it. Many are remaining cheerful, even having uplifting and supportive conversations with other clients while they wait.

I have been so inspired during lockdown by all the new volunteers we have - people who are furloughed and want to use their time to help others! All the other volunteers on my team are doing this, they are amazing!"

To find out more about the work of Peterborough Food Bank and how to help during this crisis, have a look at their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PeterboroughFoodBank/

You can also find out more about the UK-wide network of Food Banks by visiting the Trussell Trust website: https://www.trusselltrust.org/

Stay up to date with this project by following me on social media: instagram.com/ruth.towell / facebook.com/RuthTowellPhotography or subscribing to blog email updates in the box at the bottom of this page.

If you are interested in taking part in this project and live in the Peterborough area, drop me an email: ruthtowellprojects@gmail.com

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© 2020 Ruth Towell