UNLOCKED LOCKDOWN PODCASTS
Mick Ord, a media relations consultant, collaborated with Lead Artist, Jayne Lawless, as part of her commission How Society Changed on a series of conversations on reflections in the form of podcasts.
Mick produces and presents this Covid Reflections podcast series featuring the fascinating stories of the people of Ellesmere Port about how they experienced lockdown -the highs and the lows and the lessons learned.
What have we as individuals learned about ourselves and how we interacted with each other during the lockdown restrictions? Do we feel part of a wider community? Has the way in which we treat other people changed or have things gone back to normality as if nothing has happened? There are no easy answers to such complex questions but the views of the people in this podcast may help you to come up with your own views.
In this episode we meet Deb Jones who lives in the Westminster area of Ellesmere Port. Deb rarely left her house during the pandemic but speaks movingly about how her next door neighbour's dog provided her with joy and tears in equal measure as the people in her street, like those all over the world, tried to learn how to cope with Covid.
Lisa Denson was first elected as councillor for the Westminster ward of Ellesmere Port in May 2019, the area where she was born, brought up and still lives.
Just as she was getting to grips with her new role, the Covid 19 pandemic hit , within a year of her being elected, affecting ALL Westminster residents : the ones who'd elected her, the ones who'd voted for other people and the ones who hadn't bothered to vote at all.
The pandemic brought a whole new range of challenges for her as a councillor, a mum and a wife.
22 year old Tyra Goodwin is a participation worker at West Cheshire Foodbank, an organisation whose work has been crucial in supporting families during and after lockdown.
Tyra decided to volunteer with the foodbank after her own family experienced hardship. It was her way of thanking the people who had helped her mum and siblings so effectively at a time when it was desperately needed.She's also helped to set up a support group in Ellesmere Port for families like hers going through a crisis, financial or otherwise.
Tyra's story is one of hardship, resilience ... and hope. "
Here's a story about an Afghan family who've settled in the Ellesmere Port area after a traumatic few years, by anyone's standards. Abdullah, his wife and three children came to the UK around the time the Taliban took over in his home country. In that sense they were the lucky ones compared to the many who were unable to escape. But as if settling into a new culture wasn't enough, Covid hit the UK just as they arrived and a whole new set of challenges emerged.
Mick Ord caught up with Abdullah to discover what makes him tick and how he and his family have managed to get through the past few years.
If you had a job during lockdown you were either one of the lucky ones, who could carry on paid working or receive furlough payments, or one of the unlucky ones who didn't receive any form of income. Professional musicians came under the latter category and instead of performing in pubs, clubs and concert halls they had to find alternative forms of income, or simply go into debt, like so many of the rest of us.
Ian Prowse has been a professional musician for most of his adult life, forming bands or playing as a solo artist for more than 30 years. Indeed he formed Pele in 1990 in his home-town Ellesmere Port where his family still live.
So what did he do during lockdown? Well, believe it or not, social media came to the rescue.
Here's Ian's inspiring story, as told to Mick Ord.
At the height of the pandemic most organisations had to change the way they worked and perhaps none more so than local councils who still had to provide their usual services such as education, refuse collections, libraries and so on but also had to reach out to to support more vulnerable people, many of whom were isolated at home with little or no contact with the outside world.
Helen Neal and Sharon Marshall from Cheshire West and Chester Council believe that the Covid crisis brought out the best in the authority and made it more flexible and responsible to the needs of local people...as they've been telling Mick Ord
LOST VOICES PODCASTS
Photographer Ciara Leeming has been exploring the impact of the pandemic on particular groups whose voices are not often heard and whose issues have been magnified in the past few years.
Her images are accompanied by stories told directly by residents themselves.
Once the initial fear of Covid subsided, Betty valued the quality time with her family which lockdown created.
Not many Traveller children go to high school. Betty shares her family’s experiences of the system.
Like many older people, Irene spent many months cut off from family as a result of the pandemic.
Irene shares the experience of returning to bingo after almost three years of staying at home.
Lizzie – who lives alone – became isolated during the lockdown and went on to experience a late diagnosis of cancer. She shares her experiences.
The pandemic gave Sian the space to reflect on her past experiences and focus on her own wellbeing.
May moved from a Traveller site to a house during the pandemic as a result of increasing disability but misses the social interaction of her previous life.