Our MP came to our Breathe Easy virtual meeting
Teresa and the Nottingham West Breathe Easy group chatted to their local MP about how best to support people with lung conditions now shielding has paused. The group is embracing digital and they encourage you to do the same!
The pandemic has changed a lot of things, including how Breathe Easy groups meet. In Nottingham West we’ve gone digital. It’s been so important to stay connected during lockdown. The group has been fantastic for support and we’ve found lots of ways to stay in touch, including running our weekly meetings online.
For our most recent meeting, we invited our local MP Lee Anderson along and were delighted that he could join us. I thought it was important for our MP to know what people with lung conditions have been through during the pandemic. Lots of us have been shielding and it’s been a real struggle.
It’s always a good idea for groups to be in contact with their local MP. They’re in a position to speak up for people with a lung condition and help us make lung health more of a priority.
The meeting went really well
Our MP joined us on Zoom, and he was very sympathetic and supportive of the group. We planned in advance what we wanted to talk about and spoke to the policy team at the BLF too for suggestions.
Members talked about their experiences with shielding and how keeping connected had helped. Our MP actually had personal experience of shielding through his family. He also said he understood how hard it must have been for people shielding on their own, especially if they couldn’t get online.
Some people spoke about how anxious they were going out for the first time now that shielding has been paused. After being at home for such a long time, they were anxious about going to the supermarket or pharmacy. But one person summed it up well – we should try not to be afraid, but be cautious.
Our MP said speaking to us had brought home all the problems people shielding can face. He said he’d be reminding others that people will feel differently about the official shielding pause. For some the pause would be welcome news, while others would understandably be anxious.
What’s next for us?
We want to make sure we stay in touch with our MP and keep telling him about issues affecting people with lung conditions. For example, we’ve asked him to support the BLF’s campaign on air pollution. The air quality has been better during lockdown and it’s really important we build on that.
We are also going to continue our weekly online meetings and are hoping to organise a small socially distanced picnic soon. It’s amazing, I feel everyone in the group has got to know each other so much better online over these last few months. One person said our Wednesday virtual meetings are the highlight of their week.
If your group has gone digital, I’d really encourage you to invite your local MP along to a virtual meeting. We’re already hoping to invite ours back to another meeting.
Lee Anderson MP speaking about recent initiatives to improve lung health:
“I was pleased that in January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan was launched, which incorporates a number of measures to improve wellbeing among people with lung disease and to prevent lung conditions from developing in the first place.”
Get in touch with [email protected] if you’re thinking of inviting your MP to a Breathe Easy group meeting – we can help!