At the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown I’d never heard of WhatsApp or Zoom. I didn’t even know how they worked, how to use them or how to get them onto my smartphone, laptop and tablet.

I used to see my friends at People First Merseyside daily before lockdown so it was scary knowing that was what they would be using to keep meetings going and I was afraid of missing the opportunity to join in.

We struggled to get me set up on Zoom remotely but People First Merseyside contacted me daily and we slowly progressed and eventually cracked it and got me set up. Joining in the daily meetings made me happy, excited and overjoyed as I was able to see my friends and colleagues again and able to communicate with everyone.

Having WhatsApp helps pass the time in the mornings and having the meetings in the afternoon gives me something to look forward to. Sing & Sign sessions were the highlight of my week and I would also practice sign language in my own time. Being a part of People First Merseyside during lockdown made me feel that I wasn’t on my own.

Having Zoom and WhatsApp also meant I was able to make video calls to my Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister, one of my Nieces and my Nephew. I regularly speak to my family over the phone but hadn’t actually seen any of them for 8 years.

I felt great relief in seeing my family during this time and knowing they were okay – I felt reunited with them. Before I spoke to them I was nervous but excited and afterwards my stomach was going round and round from the happiness of seeing them. It was great to not just speak to my family but actually see them after all this time. Hopefully this will lead to me seeing my other Niece and my Great Niece soon.

I’ve continued to stay in touch with my family with video calls and continued to learn more about using Zoom and WhatsApp through using them for People First Merseyside chats and meetings.

Even before lockdown I was desperate and struggling not being able to see my family and was scared I would never see them again. People First Merseyside having the patience and giving the time and support to set me up on Zoom and WhatsApp remotely during lockdown helped give me the tools to finally see my family again.


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