By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead
Fed up? Rest assured, you are not alone. We all are, but finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As the evenings burst into life as the clocks go forward next weekend, we will finally have something to do with all that time instead of sitting in our homes awaiting the end of this, the most difficult of the lockdowns – lockdown three.
By the time we are fully out of this lockdown, we will have spent the best part of five months under restrictions, far longer than the original lockdown, which started in March last year.
For most of us, 2020 was a non-event, and all we can do is look forward to the second half of 2021 with a degree of optimism – even if the easing does not stretch to holidays abroad.
Here in Torbay, we are braced for an influx of tourists and visitors who will be heading to our towns and beaches for the only type of holidays available to them – staycations, and as we always do, we will give them the full Torbay welcome
But what of us, the residents? Hopefully, we have a lot to look forward to, starting as soon as next week (March 29th) when two households will again be allowed to mix outside – fingers crossed for good weather.
Next Monday also marks the return of outdoor sports and leisure facilities so it will be back to the golf course for those who play and the opportunity to get back out onto the water for others.
At TCDT, we have been giving a lot of thought to how we re-introduce the many activities that were a big part of Ageing Well, and whilst the rules do not yet allow a full return, planning has begun in earnest.
For many of our team, lockdown has been one long frustration given that they normally work hard to help communities come together rather than facilitate keeping them apart.
Coffee morning, tea dances, quizzes, walks, workshops, film clubs and indoor or outdoor exercise groups have all had to be either taken online (for those that have access to digital, which not everyone does), onto the phone or abandoned altogether.
Instead, we have been forced to find new ways of keeping in touch with people and ensuring as much as possible that no-one in the Bay is lonely or, worse, isolated as a result of this pandemic.
Now, finally, we are looking forward, and there is an air of optimism that as a result of vaccinations that have been delivered to around 65,000 people so far and the commitment of us all to each other’s health and wellbeing, we will once again be able to begin the long journey back to the new ‘normal’.
It will not be the same for everyone – some will choose to exercise caution, others will choose not to embrace it all until they are certain that all danger has passed and we must respect the individual’s decision either way.
However, across the Bay, there are tens of thousands of people champing at the bit, ready to go, in whatever way they can and that is what we have begun planning for – ways of once again coming together in a safe and sensible way.
It may well be that instead of a big bang – a series of big celebrations – that it will be more sensible to start gently with a whole host of smaller events and gatherings until confidence grows.
Weather allowing, we will be looking at organising as many events as we can outdoors, but there will also be a structured return to our regular venues such as halls, hotels and cafes, but we need to stick to the timetable as set out by the Government, every step of the way.
Some will choose to remain away from gatherings of any kind and we will continue to staff the Helpline on 01803 446022 for those who need us, for whatever reasons.
Our slogan, One Call, That’s All, is as true today as it was at the height of this crisis and we are very aware that for some, the problems are getting worse, not better and for others, the difficulties are yet to come.
For that reason, the Helpline will continue to be available from 10am until 6pm, Monday to Friday and from 9:30am until 12:30pm on Saturday.