Life in Lockdown: Georgia’s story of charity, kindness, and caring for those most in need
As someone who is constantly busy searching for the next available challenge, Covid-19 and the consequential lockdown came as a huge shock to my system (as I am sure it did to everyone). My university and home in Sheffield became uncertain and ultimately a sort of ghost town full of anxiety, therefore I returned to my mother’s house in Sussex. Having been a boarder for seven years, and then spending two years at university, the idea of living solidly in a house with my family for an indefinite period of time was, truthfully, terrifying! Also, as someone who needs a plan for the future, I felt very uncomfortable with my anxiety levels at a high.
Having attended Christ’s Hospital, a school that is woven with charitable morals and an ethos to always give back to those less fortunate than you, I knew I couldn’t sit idly by while this vicious virus ensued. I contacted my local care agency, Independent Lives, and asked if they were hiring and whether I could get involved. My mother is a District Nurse and so community-based care was not totally foreign to me, however my previous employment included lifeguarding, swim teaching, and bartending, and so the hands-on care aspect was totally new… and slightly daunting! We were given an online training day on Zoom, some workbooks to complete, and then BHAM, I was out in the community on shadow shifts with more experienced carers.
This was four weeks ago, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come, but also how natural the job feels to me now. I love going to work and seeing all the customers, most of whom I see four times a week and have created a relationship with. Normally with me making a joke, and them laughing although it is definitely not funny! The simple things such as learning someone’s tea order, or how they like their pillows propped around them is so rewarding as the continuity for them makes their day so much smoother, more personal and calming in this crisis.
Within these four weeks, our PPE requirements have been increasing, with some of our customers confused and sometimes anxious at our appearance, but the reassurance and the fact we are going through this journey together is normally enough to calm us both down! The constant attacks by the news are also causing detriment to us all; the fear of PPE running out adds to the helplessness people are already feeling.
I am still a full-time university student completing my Geography degree online at the University of Sheffield, however balancing this job as well is allowing me to become overly busy all over again. Finally, my mind has found some sort of calm in these distressing times. I urge all those who are healthy and of low risk to help their community in whatever capacity they can, it is infinitely more rewarding than you could ever expect.
Georgia Smith, Carer
University of Sheffield