A connection life-line
Learning to live with Covid-19 has been hard for many, but particularly the clinically vulnerable who needed to shield and who are still cautious about mixing with others. Isolation and poor mental health was a risk for many, but for David, who is blind and clinically vulnerable, with limited hearing, WEA was one of few opportunities to keep connected with his community and mentally stimulated:
I think the WEA has been a largely unknown silent hero during this year of Pandemic.
Being categorised as extremely vulnerable, I was unable to safely practice physical/social distancing as I could not respond appropriately to people I could not see and often not hear, especially with traffic noise. The death of my cousin from Covid, early in the pandemic brought home the seriousness of the situation for us and people continued to approach me to pet by guide dog, so I spent more and more time at home.
I have never, in one year, read so many history books or listened to academic podcasts.
WEA online courses have been a massive source of comfort throughout the year. My mental wellbeing is vastly improved compared to what would have been available without these WEA options.
Probably just as importantly, WEA courses have inspired and structured my reading and listening activities throughout the year. I have never, in one year, read so many history books or listened to academic podcasts.
This has meant that quite surprisingly, during this pandemic, I have in one important area of my life, even at my age, and with my disabilities, which has been able to grow and develop.
The fact that my knowledge in these areas is expanding has bolstered my feelings of self-worth. I believe my family are convinced I have also become more pleasant to live with!