What we did during lockdown

2020 has been and continues to be a very different year, full of challenges, fears and changes for us all but it has also demonstrated the amazing sense of community and how individuals and groups stepped up and gave what they could to contribute to the wellbeing of others. For many this was the giving of their time, doing shopping for neighbours, checking on the vulnerable or even just giving a wave and a smile to show they weren’t totally alone.  Our director Kelly kept busy supporting households that were shielding, doing shopping, collecting medication and providing much needed distanced social contact.

She worked with some of our clients and contacts to provide advice and guidance, particularly with regard to infection control, risk assessments and safe systems of work, thank you Lets Pretend, it’s great to see you open again! On top of this, she stepped up to become a keyworker, providing practical support to our colleagues at Elite Homecare by joining their bank staff and covering care shifts when they were needed. All of the amazing team at Elite continued to provide domiciliary care services for their clients throughout lockdown, thank you guys!

Like for many of us all, social media helped to fill some time and we noticed requests for ear protectors. As part of our support, we responded to calls from frontline workers who were having trouble wearing masks as the elastics were causing soreness behind their ears. Not nice at any time but having to wear masks for prolonged periods of time was causing some serious discomfort.

I was shielding and had time, wool and crochet hooks, so I responded to Facebook appeals, started making crochet ear protectors and began to receive requests on a very regular basis! As you can see colours were varied, sizes available to fit most….Only the best buttons used! It’s funny how small things make you think of important people in your life. The crochet hooks I used once belonged to my great aunt, Ena, who made items I still use to this day. More
importantly, she dedicated her life to nursing and would be proud to think her hooks were being used to support other nurses and carers.

One of our first requests was from a staff member from Sunderland hospital and then things just grew! As the demand increased, I was helped by our office manager, Sheila Hope, who added knitted protectors to the supplies which were delivered around Hartlepool.

Some of these little beauties travelled from Newcastle to Devon! They found their way into the Freeman Hospital, RVI, Sunderland General and a number of Care homes in and around Newcastle and Hartlepool.

There were nearly 300 protectors made… that’s nearly 600 buttons!!

I had some to hand but nowhere near enough. So we took to Facebook again and asked for help. The offers of donations flooded in and I would find bags of buttons on the seat outside my front door, (keeping socially distanced of course!) and parcels would arrive in the post with even more, in designer shapes and colours… a pandemic is no excuse to lower standards!

I have no idea how many are still in use, but I hope that each protector made and given demonstrated the care and appreciation we had for our keyworkers.

And yes… I gave one to Kelly for being a keyworker! It was the only rainbow one I made… can you spot it?

If you would like to make your own ear protectors, please have a watch of my first shot at video making!

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