Caroline Thomas, a Physical Geographer at Reading, shares how her experiences during lockdown had an important local social impact and contributed to a true feeling of community.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Caroline and I am a 3rd Year Physical Geography student here at the University of Reading.
Can you share with us a little about how you helped others during lockdown?
Before the lockdown in March, I decided to move back home, given all of my University work was going to be online. When lockdown was announced, I offered to help all of my neighbours, since many were vulnerable or sheltering and shopping for essentials would be difficult. I created online shopping slots for them, as well as going to the shops myself to pick up essentials on a weekly basis. During this time, I also took my neighbours’ post to the post office and organized a small gift collection from our local area to show our appreciation to the NHS workers at our local hospital.
Did you feel scared putting yourself out there when we knew little about the virus and how dangerous it was?
I definitely felt vulnerable myself, after hearing shocking statistics from the News regarding deaths per day and new side effects from the virus. However, I knew that by keeping my distance in shops, wearing a mask along with regular hand washing, this would give me the best chance to help those in my local area who are unable to do so themselves.
What was the response like to the help you gave?
Everyone was so positive and thankful for my help and appreciated it hugely. In the past, those I supported have helped me out in other ways, and I believe it was only fair to help them now during this time. This is what makes you feel part of a community.
What do you feel you’ve learned from the experience?
I think lockdown has shown me the possibility of working from home and achieving everything necessary without being in an office. This has been proven not only by my University work but through my parents’ work as well. This has definitely shown that nationwide, we are able to complete a lot from our own homes and can also really pull together to help each other.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. This has definitely been a difficult time for everyone, and by helping out here and there for those who were unable to do so I hope I have made it easier for the people around me in my close community. Despite these being small tasks, I think they made a huge difference to some of my neighbours.