....some people are complaining about their boredom and not being able to go out. Unfortunately, that is the reality for the communities I work with.

BBC Radio Humberside asked me the following questions:

Just what you’ve noticed most since the lockdown, what’s it been like for you, have other people contacted you? Have you got any major concerns, anything been easier than you thought?

BBC Radio Humberside

The original audio of Dan’s recording for BBC Radio Humberside below – click play to hear it and the article he wrote afterwards is below.

During the lockdown, I have noticed that some people are complaining about their boredom and not being able to go out. Unfortunately, that is the reality for the communities I work with. I mean those who have disabilities, mental health issues, chronic conditions and neurodivergent.

Much of the information the government bodies are putting out there focuses on the telephone method which is leaving many people cut off – such as deaf, have anxiety using the phone, unable to speak and more.

When you look for the support other than the phone, you will find this information is hidden amongst a lot of text which helps no-one at all.

Example:

NHS Advice for Covid19 support is to call 111 or check their website. No mention of the support they have worked so hard with some charities to put in place such as BSL Interpreters via Video Calls and more.

My biggest concern is that the standard of information especially methods of communication is quite lax and needs improving as many people are being left behind.

The Scottish government have proven it is possible to deliver information in an inclusive way by:

Using an onsite BSL Interpreter on all broadcasts whereas the English Government neglect to do this and there is one for limited times a day on 1 channel – the BBC News channel. Come on broadcasters, follow suit!

There are many wonderful stories of communities getting together to support the elderly and vulnerable via aiding with shopping. One such story I know of is a person who has had to self-isolate for 12 weeks – the local shop is happy to take a personal call and deliver to his door step.

Blind / visually impaired people are not being classed as vulnerable. They are being turned away by some shops during the special hours for the elderly and vulnerable.

The same has applied to people with limited mobility and strength also those with social anxiety – they are not always seen as vulnerable and don’t always qualify for priority online shopping slots.

This is dangerous especially if there are many people in the shop and we are supposed to be encouraging social distancing.

There is a lot to be done – the retailers, authorities and broadcasters need to listen and react.

  • Interviewer: Andy Marster-Haining – BBC Radio Humberside
  • Respondent: Daniel Watts – Owner of Elephant in The Room Disability Services.