• Ruth Towell

Lockdown Reflections - Paul

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 the window of their home capturing the invisible separation that lockdown brings.

This is Paul, have a read of his story:

"My lockdown has been shared with my wife and our 2 year old son.

I work as a Personal Advisor for Cambridgeshire County Council and my role is to support young adults who have been looked after children and have since left care. It's rewarding at times, but comes with lots of challenges, as the young people I support have had varied experiences in the care system. Added to which they have to adapt to adult life much quicker than many of their peers, as they often don't have family to fall back on and the Local Authority may be the only support network they have.

I've been classed as a key worker, and have therefore continued working during lockdown. Although work itself has changed considerably, as it has meant working from home full time. Working with adults has meant the majority of contact with my care leavers has been done remotely. Whereas previously visits would be completed face to face on a regular basis.

I have missed the face to face, relational aspect of the role, even though at times I have to deal with challenging behaviour.

Working from home has been difficult, as it is easy to blur the boundaries between work and home life. The first couple of weeks it seemed quite a novelty. However in a role that can be emotionally draining at times, having other members of the team around is something I've generally seen as a great help, as we can encourage one another, or share particular challenges we are experiencing to see if another colleague can offer some insight into the situation. This has been lost while working from home, and it's not really in my nature to call others up to talk over the phone in the same way that I might talk to a colleague or my manager face to face.

Along with many others, I've also found it difficult not seeing extended family, at least not as I would under ‘normal’ circumstances. Such as my niece who has turned 1 during lockdown, and my grandma who has turned 103(!), and everyone in between. Seeing my mum on Mother's Day, but not being able to share a hug due to distancing is something that really sticks in my mind.

I've also found that I've been able to turn my hand to some DIY gardening and home improvement. This has become quite therapeutic for me and given me a focus other than work, and is also improving the home (and office!) environment. It's been especially wonderful to be able to enjoy the garden, which was basically unusable before. It's now a safe space for us and for our little boy to play without fear of him hurting himself.

Post-lockdown world still feels difficult to imagine. As someone who is naturally cynical, it's easy to just think nothing will change, or maybe people will be so fed up with it all that selfishness will abound even more than it did before. However, I'd like to think that people will be more considerate of those around them and that there will be more thought given to how our actions affect both our community and our environment. Hopefully we can all do our bit to make things better for everyone around us and maybe see the bigger picture, even just a little more than we did before."

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© 2020 Ruth Towell