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How was the pandemic for you?

We are all living in a strange time. The pandemic has changed all our lives. It has changed the way we live, work, and socialise. It has created economic, health and social uncertainty and insecurity. It has affected the nation’s mental health.

Some people have experienced more difficulties than others during these challenging times.

We talked to some of our colleagues from the lived experience community and they agreed to share some of their reflections about how the pandemic had impacted on their lives.

Colleagues from the Social Work Voices community stayed in touch virtually as the coordinator arranged for participants to get online and take part in scheduled meetings and learning activities.

As restrictions were placed on people’s daily lives – other areas opened up in the digital world.

One colleague said that while working virtually wasn’t a perfect replacement for living in the real world, participating online had lessened the feeling of isolation.

Some members had enjoyed meeting other lived experience colleagues from other counties as physical events were replaced by virtual gatherings.

Other colleagues found balancing the home-schooling schedule and busy daily family life exhausting.  There were practical issues to contend with too, as sometimes there were not enough devices for all the children to be online and take part in school lessons.

The pandemic impacted negatively on some members’ lives.

Our social workers continued to work during the entire pandemic, as did other key workers. Access to some services was limited due to the pandemic, such as medical appointments and services at day centres and this created real difficulties for some families.

This was felt keenly by many families and one of our parents reported that lockdown had stopped her from accessing her son’s usual activities, to the detriment of his physical and mental health.

However that parent was determined to keep looking forward and said; ‘‘I hope for the sakes of everyone I love, that our lives can return to some semblance of the dysfunctional normality we knew before, because for all its failings, society shows we rely on a functioning system that cares for us with or without covid-19, particularly when we are vulnerable, and more so, as we rely on each other.’’

We will return to this topic and ask other members of the lived experience community to share their experiences and please get in touch and let us know how it has affected you.