Sylvia and friends – Ladies in lockdown

Ageing Better Middlesbrough member Sylvia Ross tells us her lockdown story...

Ageing Better Middlesbrough member Sylvia Ross, who is part of the ‘Crafty Capers’ group in Marton, has been telling us what she has been getting up to during lockdown.

She also explains how WhatsApp has helped her keep connected with friends during these uncertain times and how helping people in your community can really make a difference. 


It sounds like isolation will be the norm for the more vulnerable among us, at least for the foreseeable future anyway.

It’s a topic I discuss a lot with the Crafty Capers group I’m involved with.

We try not to worry too much about it though. To take our mind off it we fill our time with meaningful activities to help us through each day.

In normal circumstances the ladies and I would get together and make craft items at the Marton Community Centre, which has been a bit of a home from home for most of us in recent times.

We always used to look forward to having a few hours of chat at the centre, as well as deciding what charity we’re going to help out next. So far we have made craft items and given donations to; James Cook Hospital, the RSPCA, Zoe’s Place and lots of local schools.

As circumstances have changed though, we needed to find an alternative way of coming together. Before lockdown we had arranged a Tea and Technology session with Ageing Better Middlesbrough, but Covid-19 came out of the blue at exactly the same time, so that had to be cancelled.

That didn’t stop us though, and nor will it in future.

We rallied around and spoke to members to get them set up on WhatsApp, guiding them through the process step by step.

More importantly, for those who didn’t have access to any technology, we made sure we called them regularly to update them on items needed, and to check in with them to see if they were doing OK.

At a similar time, we received information from James Cook Hospital saying they would like comfort blankets, teddies, hearts and other items for patients.

This gave us even more incentive to keep talking through WhatsApp and organising what we’d do for the hospital.

Each of the ladies was tasked with knitting various items, while the app also kept us in high spirits as we talked through the process with each other. Once we get going we’re very productive, and it wasn’t long before we had made over 250 items.

Staff at the hospital came to collect the items, which they were overjoyed with.

We are just happy knitting away. We get a lot from the experience so we’re happy to provide items for people who might need cheering up. It’s about thinking of those who may need it.

A final word…. 

If you know someone who needs a chat or just a friendly face to see now and again, please go and see them. Inspire them to do an activity like we do, or just give them a call and see how they are.

Lockdown isn’t too much different from being isolated for many older people. Especially for people who can’t attend classes or get together’s because of illness, transport reasons, or lack of confidence. You could say they’ve been living their own kind of lockdown for years now.

Small gestures mean a lot. It could make someone’s day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to prepare a Zoom meeting so we can start our online quizzes!



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