It’s bonkers at the moment. I am part of Keynsham Community Response Group, which is staffed by volunteers. The Keynsham Covid19 Facebook page was started by Clare R, and I have been working on this project pretty much full time since the 16th of March when I offered to help them. I volunteered to fill out a spreadsheet to help to co-ordinate information about the volunteers who had offered help. The Response Group is part of wider Keynsham Town Council, which liaises with other local organisations such as the Community at 67, and Churches Together etc.
This project has rather taken over my life! I have put my own business on hold. The Core Work Group is made up of 5 of us. It has been really hard going at times, but it is amazing. I will be isolating until June because of my own health issues as I have an immune condition, so everything I have done, has been done remotely from isolation. It’s incredible.
Obviously, there are lots of different roles within the organisation. Some people are chatting over the phone to lonely isolated people. We have an advice line which is open 7 days per week, 9am-9pm. People can get advice on where and how to get food, prescriptions, or any part of the isolation process. Other volunteers are providing practical help such as doing shopping for those who can’t go out, or perhaps walking their dogs and delivering hot meals. We have divided Keynsham into seven districts. Each district has 'wardens'. I look after two districts, so that’s the wardens and the volunteers...
I would usually be running groups as part of my antenatal teaching. The maternity landscape has changed so dramatically in the last few weeks. People sometimes feel they don't have any choice in their maternity journey, which is actually not the case. I wish they knew that they could still have choices. They can still have access to proper ante natal education, even if not within the NHS.
I teach a curriculum accredited by the Royal College of Midwives and I work really closely with the local midwives and RUH. They’re doing an amazing job right now too... everyone’s working so hard
I have written a couple of articles since being in isolation. One about breastfeeding safely with Covid, and another one about sleeping pattern changes. Six weeks ago things were very different. Work was going very well. I had got a book offer, as well as a PhD supervisor. I was going to be doing my first big conference speech this summer. It’s moved from one direction to another and who knows where is this is all going to go?
The PhD, I can carry on. The book can carry on. The conference? I'm sure they'll reschedule. As for the teaching side of stuff? I’m running my first Zoom ante-natal course at the moment... We are all adapting right?!
I’m so tired. I have run out of words. I was initially finding it hard to sleep, but am sleeping OK again now. I had a complete change to my sleep cycle, which I think in many ways is beneficial for survival. We all kind of go into survival mode, don’t we? It’s an emotional tiredness too isn’t it? We are all drained. Everyone is affected in different ways... I find this is tiring, emotionally.
On a more physical level, I am so busy. I have three kids! My amazing husband is working at home with me, balancing the kids and work. He's also planning the second KTown IsoFest.. It doesn’t stop. Our team had time off over the Easter weekend for the first time in a month. Maybe that is why I feel so tired! You always feel tired when you stop don’t you?
I think that this sort of project was needed before Covid. Communities work best when they're joined up. People were going without.. This has instigated some beautiful community behaviour. People are doing so much for each other now, it’s incredible to be a part of.
My next project is setting up a well-being hub with my friend Trisha.. a place where people who volunteer and other members of the community can access good support and holistic well-being services from all manner of amazing local providers ... we've so many brilliant practitioners in Keynsham and people working hard, with the community in their hearts.
I have gone from feeling worried about myself and my business, to feeling proud of what I have contributed to. It wasn’t where my life was headed, but here I am!
For information on shopping and pharmacy support during Covid19 please contact the KCRG Advice line number; 07534071466 9am-9pm 7 days a week
For more information about antenatal education, hypnobirthing, infant feeding or any aspect of well being for parents during pregnancy, birth and beyond please contact Vicki at www.paratoi.co.uk