When lockdown was first imposed there were things to do but after a year it was not so easy to find things to do anymore. What else could you do? It is worse when you have the challenge of supporting someone who has a variety of challenges. One of the hardest things to do in a family is to support the weaker ones. When someone says this many of us automatically think of the toddlers and young children. But what about the older ones or those adults who are facing sensory, physical or cognitive challenges?

Once hopes were raised of restrictions being eased we moved from thinking how we were going to survive but how we will recover and even begin to thrive again. Slowly getting together became easier, first outdoors and then indoors. Sharing resources was a problem as they could be carriers so needed to be quarantined or cleaned carefully before they could be touched by someone else. More than once lockdown was eased only to be imposed again.

Living with uncertainty became normal

Trying to work out what the current restrictions are and finding ways to do what used to be normal within the restrictions became an ongoing challenge. No wonder there is is a second epidemic on the horizon. One where people were struggling with mental health issues.

We had got used to the guessing game where we looked at the shops during the run up to Christmas and wondered which ones would still be open at Easter. In 2021 one shop that had been trading on the same site since 1791 finally closed its doors. What had once been a stable and secure brick and mortar retail business did not have an online presence and became a victim of Covid. The world of retail had changed forever and what was once seen as a mechanism for reviving communities ravaged by the demise of other industries itself became an endangered species.

Those going back to the town centres wondered what had happened to them as there were so many empty spaces. This of course added to the struggle people had with mental illness. For some, it was the loss of familiar shops and the impact that such losses had on their mental wellbeing as walking around the town centre was depressing. For others, it was the loss of income as they could no longer find a job in retail and were left wondering how on earth they would survive financially. Again a considerable challenge to their mental health.

How do we heal?

It is a huge problem that will take many different approaches to resolve. One of those solutions is getting people involved in productive creative activities. During a period of lockdown, this can only be done by someone who is permitted to meet with that person in a place that is permissible by the law as it stands at that time. Hence the need for support for activities can be carried out within those restrictions such as kits. When the level of social interaction is not as restricted it is possible to think about face to face groups again.

One of the things about healing is that there are times when things seem to be progressing well and times when there are setbacks. We seemed  to be one the way out of lockdown in the middle of 2020 only to go back to full lockdown over the winter. I for one am not sure whether the winter seasons in years to come will not include an element of increased social distancing. There is even an element of building up trust again.

After all we have all been taught quite a lesson in how to prevent infection spreading and winter is the time when colds and flu can spread like wildfire. It might not be imposed by the force of law but people have become so much more aware of how infection is spread. It has become normal  to wash or santise your hands many times during the day at school or at work and it might be a hard habit to break. I can’t imagine what it has ben like during 2020 for those wh were already fearful of uncleannes..

There are many aspects to the issue of healing of the community after a pandemic has created so many problems. The beauty of crafting is that it is an amazing tool that can be used to support both those who are facing challenges and those who support them. In other words, everyone can craft.

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