There’s no denying that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has flipped life on its head.
The first national lockdown introduced towards the end of March 2020 saw the world grind to a halt, with several industries ordered to temporarily close their doors, numerous events cancelled, all non-essential workers told to work from home, necessary social distancing measures put in place, and the public encouraged to do everything they can to “protect the NHS [and] save lives”.
But for some of us, working from home looked a little different to the rest.
For Dylan Rixon – a 24-year-old carer from Flintshire in Wales – working from home meant calling a new place home instead, as he left his hometown and country to cross the border and move into the Cheshire care facility where he works full-time.
Dylan works for the Deafness Support Network, which runs four homes caring for deaf people and those with learning disabilities 24 hours a day, and moved into Stepping Stones in Northwich, Cheshire, in March last year when coronavirus began to take hold of the UK.
The move has meant that Dylan has spent all but three weeks living in the care home since the pandemic began and admittedly spent his 24th birthday “just staring at four walls”, but he said his sacrifice has been the best way to keep himself and the vulnerable tenants safe.
He also said he had better insight into the lives of the home’s 22 residents as a result.
The idea to move into the care facility full-time was suggested to him by his father, as Dylan has a weak immune system as a result of contracting meningitis as a toddler, and also had a mild heart attack two years ago too.
As well as as being in the name of safety, moving into the home also had its conveniences too, as it meant Dylan could avoid the 30-mile commute on public transport each day.
Dylan said: “I remember my dad saying ‘you need to be a bit wiser about your decisions, because further down the line its going to affect everyone and be much worse than you think’
“And he was right.
“So we made the decision it was best for me, best for the family and work as well because I was reliable and always here.
“I used to get up around five-ish, get on the train for six o’clock and get here for half-past eight. Then I’d finish at nine at night and get home at one in the morning, get a few hours sleep and then come back again, so it has been a bit of a change from doing that, to now sleeping here”.
He continued: “When everyone’s going at seven at night I’m still here,
“I find myself in the kitchen cleaning or doing a bit of laundry and thinking ‘I wish I was going’, but I’m not [so] I usually watch movies or have game of Jenga”.
But despite the monotony that may go along with his adjusted lifestyle, Dylan believes he has gained a better insight into the lives of those he cares for now that he’s living under the same roof as them, adding: “I was seeing the tenants three [days’] on/three off, and now I see them every day and I’ve got to know the way they approach life, how they go about things”.
And he has no plans to leave any time soon either.
He often even finds himself joking about staying on and paying rent in rent at the home, but admits that he does miss home and hopes that it won’t be too long before he is able to see his loved ones again.
“I miss my family and friends but I’ve just been getting on with work,” said Dylan.
“I keep in contact with everyone from home and I’m sure they’re missing me like I’m missing them.
“I’ve still got Christmas presents to open and they’ve got presents coming their way when I see them again [so it’d be nice to get back to Wales one day.
“I do miss home.”
Cheadle care home asks locals to take their dogs to its ‘Canine Café’ next week to cheer up residents
A Greater Manchester care home is calling on locals to take their dogs down to its ‘Canine Café’ next week to help cheer up the residents.
After recent studies have shown that introducing dogs into care home settings can help lift people’s mood and increase social interaction among the community, Abney Court Care Home in the Trafford town of Cheadle – which sits within the picturesque grounds of Abney Hall Park – has decided to host its very-own ‘Canine Café’ next week.
But in a bid to make sure there’s enough canine cuddles for all the residents, staff at the home are asking the public to bring their own four-legged friends down to the party.
Abney Court created the canine-themed event after being inspired by the positive impact previous animal visits have had on residents’ wellbeing in the past, and after hearing how much they missed the company of their own pets from their younger years.
Taking place next Friday 8 March from 11am-12pm, Abney Court’s ‘Canine Café’ gives attendees the chance to enjoy loads of tasty puppy-themed treats and drinks, all while being in the company of furry friends.
Of course, all four-legged guests will be taken good care of too.
Not only will the pups be able to enjoy plenty of fuss from the home’s residents, but they’ll also get the opportunity to play with the other pooches, and be treated to their very-own ‘pup cake’ too.
There’ll also be lots of garden games and a raffle too, so everyone has a shot a winning a whole host of goodies to take home.
Inviting the Greater Manchester public down to the party next week, Amcia Hara, who is the Home Manager at Abney Court, said: “We are looking forward to inviting the local community to our Canine Café, as atudies have shown that introducing dogs into care homes can help lift people’s mood and increase social interaction.
“The human-animal bond is powerful in promoting self-esteem and wellbeing, which is exactly why we feel our Canine Café is set to be a brilliant event.
“Whether you have your own dog or simply an animal lover, we’d encourage you to come along to our event.”
Abney Court Care Home’s Canine Café is happening next Friday 8 March from 11am-12pm.
Featured Image – Abney Court (via Facebook)
Jason Manford is joining the cast of Waterloo Road as the new headteacher
The BBC has announced that Jason Manford will be joining the cast of Waterloo Road, and he’s got himself a starring role in it too.
The famous Manc may be more known for his stand-up comedy, screen presenting work, and on-stage musicaltheatre gigs – but now, he’s giving TV acting a go, and will be stepping into the role of the fictional school’s new headteacher in the next series of the show that’s set to air later this year.
Manford will play Steve Savage – or Mr Savage, to the kids – who goes on to have a big impact on the staff and pupils at Waterloo Road, but not before he ruffles a few feathers along the way.
While the BBC has teased that Manford’s new role as headteacher will leave people questioning how the future looks for current headteacher Kim Campbell, viewers will apparently just have to “wait and see” how the storyline plays out.
Manford has admitted it’s an “absolute treat” to have joined the cast of the popular show.
Speaking on his new role as the casting was announced on the official BBC social media platforms yesterday, Manford said: “What an absolute treat it is to join the cast and crew of Waterloo Road, right here in my home city of Manchester.
“My kids and I binged the show during lockdown.
“It’s such a brilliant and iconic show, so I’m dead proud to now be part of its history. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher, and now becoming a headteacher, I know I would have been terrible.”
Alongside Manford in his new role, the BBC has also announced that a whole host of other new characters are being thrown into the mix for the next series too – including Saira Choudhry as Nisha Chandra, the school’s newest maths teacher, and a gaggle of new students played by Olly Rhodes, Nathan Wood, Sonya Nisa, Miya Ocego, Danny Murphy, and Matthew Khan.
Jason Manford is joining the cast of Waterloo Road as the new headteacher / Credit: BBC
Fellow famous Mancs Adam Thomas and Kym Marsh are also set to return, alongside the rest of the current teaching staff and plenty of the same students.
Waterloo Road has continued to remain as popular as ever since its long-awaited return to TV screens last year, with the latest reboot series having been watched weekly on BBC One by audiences in their millions.
It’s also cemented its position as one of the top shows on BBC iPlayer for viewers under 35 too.