Oldham’s Lockdown Museum: One year in Mark Woodcock

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. Here is the first in a series of revealing blog posts.

No. 6, Mark Woodcock, Health and Wellbeing Advisor, Oldham Active Communities

  • Tell us a little bit about your organisation. Who are you, what do you do?

The Oldham Active Communities Project, run through Oldham Community Leisure, aims to reduce levels of social isolation and loneliness through getting people active.

As more space was needed leisure centres became foodbanks. Here, staff at Royton unload donations.
  • Thinking back to 2020… What were you doing in March, when the first lockdown started?

We were running indoor exercise classes in community settings and attending community events to find out if there are any activities groups and individuals would like to try in different areas of Oldham.

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

We could no longer run any exercise classes which resulted in lots of calls to isolated individuals and leisure centre members initially.  We then set fitness challenges and started running classes online.

A challenge set by Oldham Community Leisure to complete 10 laps of 400m (run) with 10 burpees after every lap completed!
  • What helped you through it, personally and professionally?

Keeping positive throughout was essential and knowing that the whole country were pulling together.  A lot more partnership working has come as a result.

  • What has changed between the first, second and third lockdown?

People are more comfortable with online activities.  The weather had an impact on people’s enthusiasm / motivation and people cannot wait for social contact!

  • What, if any, have been the positives?

More partnership working and there has been good engagement with online activities.  Although online engagement might not be everybody’s preference, it has helped people connect and keep active.

Equipment packs sent out to Primary School children through the Oldham Active Communities Project. Schools in the borough were contacted to help identify lonely and isolated children and the equipment was sent out to these children to use at home during lockdown and summer holidays
  • What are your hopes for the rest of 2021 and beyond?

A combination of online and face to face activities to keep people active and an increase in social interaction