My story: Ashraf
I’ve been anxious for some of my family, especially the elderly living in different parts of London who don’t have English as their first language. During the whole pandemic it’s been very difficult for them to follow the Government guidelines as they change on a day to day basis.
"I think most people from our community were doing the same – trying to explain issues to older and vulnerable family members, helping to relieve them from building up stress and anxiety."
Together with my wife and daughter we each took on three elderly relatives and friends to keep them informed about what the Government was trying to tell us. I think most people from our community were doing the same – trying to explain issues to older and vulnerable family members, helping to relieve them from building up stress and anxiety. Nevertheless, the patchy and often ambiguous messages which came from the Government only added to confusion amongst many people, of all ages, within our community. I kept hearing the questions, ‘How do we get our shopping?’ ‘How do we get our prescriptions?’ ‘Will they stop my pension?’
Our relatives were anxiously waiting by their phones for our calls. If we were delayed, they would call to ask, ‘Why haven’t we heard from you?’ Many of them live alone and were keen to have long conversations when we called them. It was obvious that loneliness, especially with the lockdown, was causing anxiety. I later discovered that some were complaining of higher levels of blood pressure and sleeplessness. There were concerns about when they would see their grandchildren again. And being indoors for so long made them feel imprisoned.
Where the lives of all UK citizens are potentially at risk, the government should be engaging with ethnic community hubs, such as TV channels, print and social media so that consistent messages can be circulated quickly to reach people of all backgrounds.