Clifton House resident, Millie, shares her lived experience of life in lockdown

Millie is a resident at Together’s Clifton House Accommodation Service in Bournemouth and here she shares her experience of living through lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic:

I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect when COVID-19 started or the effect it would have and what devastation it would cause. At first I didn’t believe it and I didn’t think it would be as dramatic as it was but my family were very worried. My granny has been inside for around 3 months now, while my grandma came down to stay with my dad for 2 and a half months. My best friend who also lives at Clifton House went to stay with her mum so I have found it very hard not being able to see her every day because we are very close.

I feel most sorry for my youngest sister Annabelle as she had her whole host of exciting plans and everything was taken away very suddenly. She is in her last year of A Levels which includes a graduation prom as well as everything she’s worked for over the last 2 years. She also had a world challenge trip organised through her school where she was going to Cambodia and Thailand to work with orphaned elephants. She had raised a lot of money for the trip and also had her driving exam which she had also worked very hard for.

I think it started to become serious when people were actually scared to go outside and cough in public because it was very extreme and crazy to begin with. Everyone would literally avoid going near anyone and would rather walk in the road then walk close to someone. At one point I was scared that this virus would knock everyone out and this would be the end of the human existence.

It’s actually gone so quickly, I don’t even remember April happening. I had my Walk All Over Cancer 10000 Steps fundraising challenge through Cancer Research UK to get on with everyday in March so I had that to focus on, but then in April I felt like there was nothing. I did some painting of the fences in my garden and bought quite a lot of hair and beauty products online to try and keep myself busy. I wouldn’t say it effected my mental health that much to be honest, just that I got very bored very easily. I’ve found that I haven’t been drinking as much because by myself it’s just not fun and I didn’t enjoy it anymore.

This is the fence that I painted

I found it extremely scary seeing what was happening around the world on the news. The reports that there wasn’t enough space in the morgues in Spain and all the number of people that were dying daily. But then I also found it soothing to see videos of neighbourhoods in Italy with people playing their instruments out on their balconies and when the planes stopped flying. Everything shut down but people found their way around it in different ways. I saw people doing things like selling stick on nails on Instagram or starting their own fitness videos and businesses started to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to have their meetings.

 This is me together with Sara who is a Social Care Worker at Clifton House

I think this year will definitely change a lot of people and be one which we will remember forever. 2020 has certainly been a very unexpected and mad year. The staff at Clifton House have been bloody amazing (if you’ll excuse my french). On top of all their normal jobs, which I think is already enough, they had to bring new measures into place to try all they could to prevent the spread of the virus. They have been working more hours and risking their lives to make sure we are all fed and well. I am very proud and grateful because I feel no one will get paid enough for dealing with this. Under all this pressure they haven’t cracked and have been still very kind and caring. I feel like they’re not just my support workers but also my second family.

I feel very safe and calm with the team at Clifton House around and they have helped me a hell of a lot. From the beginning since I moved in here they have really taken me and turned my life around and I will always be so thankful for that. They have remained calm and collected and still make me laugh. They are there if I have any problems and need to talk to them and are incredibly supportive so I can’t really put into words how great they have been. They kept everyone busy with numerous activities for us all and looked to provide some normality in the house while trying their hardest to see to everyone needs.

I have been very lucky to have moved in here it has really turned my life around. If you saw me 2 years ago compared to where I am now we would all win medals. So yes it’s been an incredibly weird experience this COVID-19. I don’t know where we’re at but I’m hoping one day we will go back to some form of normality and carry on with our lives.

Thank you Clifton House! xxx