Oldham’s Lockdown Museum: One year in Kashif Ashraf

It is a whole year since lockdown began in the UK on 23rd March 2020. Soon afterwards, we began Oldham’s Lockdown Museum. The project asked local people to send in pictures and tell us what they were doing in a time of monumental change. Over the coming months, photographs poured in and together they create a revealing and sometimes moving snapshot of Oldham during lockdown. The Lockdown Museum tells amazing stories of how people came together to help one another, adapted their lives and businesses and found the strength to keep going in the most challenging of times. To mark the anniversary of lockdown, we have contacted some of the contributors and asked them to reflect on the last twelve months. Our fifth blog post looks at the story of independant consultant, Kashif Ashraf.

No. 5, Kashif Ashraf, Independent consultant

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and/or your organisation. Who are you, what do you do? Where are you from?

Kashif Ashraf born and brought up in Oldham (53yrs) – I work as a independent consultant and contract with a variety of public/private sector companies 75% in Oldham. I am also actively involved in a volunteer capacity 100% in Oldham on the board of Maggies Oldham, Mahdlo, North Chadderton School, DL committee for Oldham, Oldham Business Awards Steering Group, Oldham Cultural Partnership, Oldham Historical Society

  • Thinking back to 2020… What were you doing in March, when the first lockdown started?

In Early March I was involved in a Business Network event in Café Lahore, on the 9th March I was involved in a hit and run as result of a police chase in Oldham town centre.  Went to Valentinos in Retiro street for a leaving do on the 16th March 20.  Then on the 19th March 2020 I was in the longest line ever waiting to get in COSTCO – it was backed all the way to the end of the car park! So life in Lock down began.

  • What suddenly changed for you when the first lockdown started? How did you adapt?

First Embraced family time and working from home.  Enjoying the outdoors as the weather was relatively mild. Not being part of the rat race seemed refreshing.

  • What helped you through it, personally and professionally?

Personally, the outdoors and nature and obviously family time. Professionally it was using Zoom/Teams and discovered Twitter as a means of communication.  Created a routine for the day that gave life a structure

During the first lockdown, Kashif finally found time to build his Lego Millenium Falcon. It had been sitting in its box for two years!
  • What has changed between the first, second and third lockdown?

First one it was novelty, second one acceptance and third one frustration in summary

  • What, if any, have been the positives?

Family time simple things like eating and watching TV together.  Getting to do things I never had time for reading, building lego and discovering the outdoor beauty on my own doorstep.  Changing supermarket to nearer less crowded one which happened to be Lidl – I am a total convert will never go back to Sainsburys – actually prefer the quality of the products and prefer not having to choose brands and their deluxe fresh orange and croissants are seriously out of this world.

  • What are your hopes for the rest of 2021 and beyond?

Realised than the value the what we already have, family, community and fantastic outdoor space. Probably I am more satisfied with life and will live simpler.  Probably appreciate places to visit on my own doorstep.  Will focus on what contribution I can make to the recovery of Oldham.

This is one of a series of blogs, catch up with our other stories about Oldham’s Lockdown Museum and lockdown life by visiting our blog page.