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Staying connected during lockdown

Linda is part of Breathe Easy Clackmannanshire and has been shielding since early March. She has been helping her fellow members feel less alone during lockdown. Her group was awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in April and they hope to celebrate together one day soon!

Life has changed dramatically since lockdown for me. I, along with many members from Breathe Easy Clackmannanshire have been shielding to protect ourselves from the threat of the virus. My husband Andy and I since 14 March.

My home is my comfort zone and I am so glad I have a garden to walk around, something that many people shielding can’t do.  I am also grateful that I have my husband with me for company. I feel so sorry for the those having to shield on their own and unable to see any friends or family for company.

Passing the time during lockdown

In the early days of our shielding, we passed the time with tidying cupboards and drawers but there is only so much clearing out that can be done. To curb boredom I pulled out my recipe books and turned to home baking. At first getting the ingredients proved to be extremely difficult, but perseverance prevailed and I baked scones, cakes, cookies and cheesecakes, all of which went down a treat!

Something I really look forward to is our weekly virtual trivia quiz with Breathe Easy members every Monday evening, not so much the quiz but just having great conversations with each other – it truly is the highlight of my week.

Support and acts of kindness

Our family, friends and neighbours have also been very supportive of us, delivering shopping when needed, posting in magazines, treating us to bakery items, doing our banking, uplifting prescriptions and so on. I am truly blown away by the kindness of people at this time.

The most difficult times over the past months have been missing important family celebrations. We missed my daughter’s birthday on the 18 March, my birthday, which fell on Mother’s Day this year and a trip abroad in April.  My mother lives in a residential home which has been in lockdown since March. I haven’t seen her since then, thank goodness for the telephone to keep us connected with our loved ones.

Breathe Easy Clackmannanshire’s 10th anniversary afternoon tea should have been celebrated on Friday 17 April. This event which was very kindly funded by our local round table and has had to be cancelled but I feel sure this will go ahead when it is safe for us all to meet face to face.

Staying connected to my Breathe Easy group

I keep in touch with the group by telephone, or through social media, and it has highlighted to me just how lonely some of them have felt and how, like myself, miss the companionship and social interaction with each other.

To cheer everyone up, I managed to obtain funding from a local community group and ordered everyone a photo book. The book shows us in happier times, at meetings, at outings and reminds us of our companionship.

A local lady has also kindly offered to deliver a box of assorted goodies to all our members who are alone at home during these dark time.  I feel sure they will love them. I hope it will remind everyone that they are not alone and continue to be thought about by many caring and loving people.

The Queens Award

I received an email in April telling me that Breathe Easy Clackmannanshire was to be awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. To say we were thrilled when we learned the news would be an understatement. Our local Third Sector Interface have very kindly arranged to have afternoon tea delivered to every member to congratulate us.

One of our members, Louise Morrison and I were both interviewed by Radio V (volunteer Scotland) where we told the interviewer about the work our group carries out in the community, the interview can still be heard on their podcasts.

Looking forward

Scotland’s First Minister extended the period of shielding until the 31 July but fingers crossed, I might be able to go a walk soon. It’s been a long and difficult time for me and others like me. I admit I will feel very apprehensive about venturing out, I only hope we can all come through this and return to some sense of normality.

I am so grateful to all the people who have supported us through these difficult days and although I have no idea when we will be able to accept the Queen's award. I look forward to celebrating both this and our 10th anniversary with a wonderful afternoon tea, together in person as a Breathe Easy group once again.

Find out more about staying connected and looking after your lung health this Love your Lungs Week.

Love Your Lungs Week


Our group in founded in Charing Cross Hospital, London, meets weekly for an hour on Tuesday afternoons to continue our Choir activities and learn new songs each week following on from exercises to help our lungs. As it is conducted via Zoom, although I have moved from Fulham to the country, I am able to join my colleagues again which has helped me immensely through the lockdown, isolating and shielding on my own with no family support to help me cope. We gave a concert last year and will be giving another before long. We were also on BBC Radio 4 last year, which emphasised a landmark in our progress!

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18 June 2020