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National Inclusion Week Covid Diaries

Category: National Inclusion Week, PA Housing, COVID-19, pandemic, lockdown


National Inclusion Week: The Covid Diaries

By Marco Cardoni 

This year, the theme for National Inclusion Week is #UnitedForInclusion, which is all about collaborating as an effective means of dealing with the issues that are currently shaping the way we live. 

we're participating in national inclusion week 2021

Of course, one of the biggest issues right now is the pandemic, which has almost universally affected humanity in some way. So, I created an open forum for people at PA Housing to contribute their own feelings about how they coped with the various challenges that Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have presented. I also allowed people to answer as many of these questions as they liked, just to make this activity as inclusive as possible. 

Of course, I am very grateful to everybody who shared their stories.  The first to answer the call was Emma Macnish – Assistant Director of HR and People Strategy. 

What was your daily routine in lockdown?

Emma: “Work, walk, sleep, repeat… It all became very repetitive.”

Did anything become more or less important to you during this time?

Emma: “Personally, I really started to appreciate the small things that you usually take for granted in this busy thing called life. It also allowed me to refocus on what is important and learn not to sweat the small stuff.”

What did you do to make others feel included during the pandemic?

Emma: “I created a Family Chat via Zoom every Saturday for 30 mins so we could all chat, and we still continue this now and it is so much fun, and my parents are now so much more digitally enabled, the pain was so worth it!”

What moment, event, or image of this time will be the one thing that stays with you?

Emma: “Sir Tom inspiring the nation was a really nice one. Also, another key image was the first photo of our Family Zoom because of how those Family chats via Zoom every Saturday morning reconnected the family.  Before the pandemic, getting to know my neighbours usually just involved a wave and a “Hello,” and now I know all 6 households and families quite well. So, there is a much stronger sense of community and that is something that will stay with me for a long time too.”


What is your hope for the future?

Emma: “I hope that the small acts of kindness that people did for each other during the pandemic continue. It was inspiring to see how people stepped up to help and support each other.”

How did you personally cope with the challenges of lockdown?

Emma: “It was difficult at the start as it was all new to me, but then, my world just became slightly different for a time, and I adjusted well.”

Have there been any benefits of the new blended work style for you?

Emma: “It has been really helpful and beneficial for me to be able to work in a more flexible way.”

How have you made the most of the lockdown ending?

Emma: “Seeing people that I have not been able to see in-person to catch up and give each other a hug.”

Next up, Sally-Anne Underhill, our Head of Housing Services, answered one of the questions.

What was your daily routine during lockdown?  

Sally-Anne: “Using my hour exercise, I ensured that I got into a routine of having a walk before and after work. This gave me the opportunity to feel like I was on a 'commute' and wind down, but also feel like I was leaving my working space because, at the time, I was working out of my bedroom. I started to listen to many podcasts and got some exercise in too.”

Finally, I thought that I (Marco Cardoni, Social Media Assistant) would take this opportunity to answer a couple of questions too.

How did the changes to the way we live present a challenge to you in your unique situation?

Marco: “At first, I didn’t know how long it would be. I completely stuck by the rules when they were enforced, but – even though it sounds bad now – I practically scoffed at the idea that it would be such a global catastrophe at the time. As a master’s student, I was going out clubbing once a week with a close-knit – but really big – friendship group. We were one week away from our big farewell party. I was preparing to say goodbye to about 30-40 people, but then lockdown began. The longer lockdown went on, the more painful it became."

What was your daily routine in lockdown?

Marco: “Our friendship group had a few online games of Among Us when that was the big craze, but after a while, that stopped. I was not in employment, my lectures had been cut short, and all my learning had moved online. My social life just disappeared in an instant and I did not deal with it well. I was staying up late, getting up at lunchtime, and the cycle continued. I kept writing my dissertation and dedicated a lot of time to that, but my lecturer was hospitalised with Covid, so I had no help with that either. In a metaphorical way, Covid even infected my essay, and I began writing about it to try and make sense of everything. That actually motivated me even more and I couldn’t be prouder of the final piece.” 

How did you personally cope with the challenges of lockdown?

Marco: “Well, I consider myself lucky that I haven’t lost any close friends or family to Covid-19 itself and I sympathise with everybody who has. One nice thing that made us feel included was the fact that my auntie and uncle invited my parents, my sister, and me to a Zoom quiz, which we participated in every 2 weeks. Those quizzes gave me something to think about and get excited about, so I was grateful for that. I also started editing my friend’s novel – which I still haven’t finished. It’s a real fixer upper. I then wrote funny articles, tried to set up my own proofreading service, and met up with friends in the park when I could. A few weeks down the line, I applied for this job, and the rest is history…”

Everybody is Unique and people have been affected by this situation in different ways, so we believe that it is a positive and cathartic thing to share our experiences. #UnitedForInclusion

Everybody is unique

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