New campaign encourages older Wigan residents to share stories of coping with coronavirus lockdown

Wigan Today is teaming up with Age UK Wigan Borough to encourage older residents who are shielding or isolating at home to film a short 30-second clip of something they are doing while unable to go out.
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The charity says it is keen to highlight how older residents are spending time during the public health emergency and to hear them speak about Covid-19 in their own words.

The campaign has also come from the possibility raised publicly that many older people may have to remain at home after the general population has begun returning to normal life, something Age UK Wigan Borough says callers to its base are facing with trepidation.

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The local charity’s chief officer John McArdle said: “This will be older people’s own thoughts, feelings and ideas, not seen through the prism of other people.

Age UK Wigan Borough chief officer John McArdleAge UK Wigan Borough chief officer John McArdle
Age UK Wigan Borough chief officer John McArdle

“It will be them talking directly to camera in their own home where they feel comfortable. That’s the essence of this.

“The idea they might have to remain in lockdown is having a negative impact for many of the people we speak to.

“They want to know when they can see their families again and start getting back to something like normal.

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“My feeling is that this is an important moment in social history and we should capture it.

It is hoped that the video clips can be put together to create a digital scrapbook of the senior generation in Wigan during the coronavirus crisis which could later be offered to a museum or archive.

Age UK Wigan Borough has made nearly 3,000 phone calls since lockdown was announced on the evening of March 23 and the charity says people have been needing more help and wanting to chat on the phone for longer as time has gone on.

Videos on topics such as exercise have also been placed on the charity’s website,

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Mr McArdle says service users have already been sharing with Age UK Wigan Borough how they are keeping active despite being unable to leave home.

One lady has begun writing a play while another has been ringing pen pals in far-flung locations including Montana and Pennsylvania in the USA.

Others have been able to pursue hobbies such as gardening or doing puzzles.

However, Mr McArdle said he was keenly aware others are struggling a lot at this time, with more finding it hard to remain upbeat as the likely duration of the upheaval has struck home.

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He said: "In the early days there was a sense that it was OK and would be over with in a few weeks, but now the reality of it has sunk in.

“This lockdown has magnified an existing sense of loneliness and isolation for many people.

“The news is also a constant diet of Covid-19 and much of it is necessarily pessimistic and negative. I wanted to see what older people are thinking, doing and feeling about this period of time, and to put a more positive spin on things."

Films should be around 30 seconds long. Email them to [email protected] or ring Age UK on 01942 241972 for assistance.

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