‘Lockdown diary’ challenge to support patient care

Photo of Ian McMillan

Local radio station Penistone FM has launched a unique fundraising initiative that encourages people to reflect on their experiences of lockdown.

The ‘Lockdown Diary Challenge’ asks for people to submit their written experiences of the time, in return for a donation to the hospice.

Pen up to 500 words, reflecting on anything that happened during lockdown, and the winning entries will be read out live on air by Barnsley poet Ian McMillan (pictured).

There are categories for both children (8-16 years) and adults, and the winners from each will also receive a £25 gift voucher. Your words can be happy, funny, sad, reflective or a mixture of them all.

The challenge is the brainchild of Jo Rushton, a volunteer with Penistone FM. She said: “We’re also hoping that if we get enough entries we can collate them together into a book so we can see what other people’s thoughts were through the lockdown. It will be a good memory to keep for all of us and help raise some money too.”
To enter, email your diary entry to studio@pensitonefm.co.uk or post to Penistone FM, Penistone 1, Regent Court, St Mary’s Street, Suite 7, Penistone, South Yorkshire, S36 6DT.
And don’t forget to make your donation (minimum £5) by clicking here.
Entries must be received by the 24th August and winners will be announced on 8th September.

Need some inspiration?  Ella Beale, Community and Events Fundraiser at Barnsley Hospice, has put together the following submission for the challenge, reflecting on her first meeting with her mum:

Today is the day I’ve been waiting for. It’s been months, the longest I’ve ever been without seeing her face in person, and I just cannot wait. Normally I’d be giving her a squeeze as I tell her how much I’ve missed her, but a smile at a two-metre distance will have to do.
Usually I would visit my childhood home, enjoying the prospect of being plied with home-cooked treats, but a neutral meeting place will suffice for now. When I arrived, I got out of the car with a mixture of joy and fear. Since when did it feel so unknown to meet up for a simple dog walk? I checked the rules, over and over, so I know this is definitely allowed, but I want to make sure that I’m doing everything by the book.
As I get out the car, I sanitise my hands for what must be the tenth time in as many minutes. I’m not going to be touching anything, but it’s better to be safe! I see her getting out of the car across the car park, and I fight the urge to run over to her. Instead, I walk calmly over and try to remember the dos and don’ts of lockdown life.
We spent the next hour walking and chatting (from a two-metre distance) accompanied by another member of the family… nine year old golden Labrador, Tilly. It feels so amazing to have a conversation that isn’t interrupted by dodgy phone signal, and to see her facial expressions without the distortion of a computer screen.
I miss her so much, and if anything, I wonder if this has made it harder? I’m plagued by worry on the way home, thinking about when we will return to normal, and reminiscing of the days when meeting family wasn’t so clinical… but I know it has to be this way.
As the walk draws to an end, I can feel my mind drifting away from the conversation as I begin to feel the pangs of the imminent separation once again. I’m torn between feeling like this is the beginning of being able to reconnect with the ones we love, but knowing that we are on such tentative ground and things could change at any minute. It’s a strange thing knowing that the time you spend with those around you is so dependent on things that are entirely out of your control, but I guess this is our normal for now.
When my head hits the pillow tonight, I know that this is a day that will forever be etched in my memory. The first day that I saw my lovely Mum in lockdown. When the term ‘socially distanced’ no longer features in every other sentence and a hug is given without a thought, this is certainly a point of time that I will never forget.
Image credit: Adrian Mealing

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