Big Conversation Portsmouth: How lockdown gave me a 'lovely' new grandson and the 'perfect' family life

MAKING memories with family is the vital ingredient to a good quality of life, a new post-lockdown survey of Portsmouth has found.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:13 pm

The Big Conversation, led by The News, discovered a resounding 76.51 per cent of readers believe visiting relatives is crucial to their personal wellbeing.

More than 1,000 people completed the survey in September as this newspaper took the city’s temperature after months of gruelling Covid-19 restrictions.

It followed a total national lockdown between March and June, during which Britons could only leave their homes twice daily and meet one other person outside.

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Louise and Amy Roberts, from Paulsgrove. Louise says lockdown brought her family closer than ever before. Picture: Supplied

The Big Conversation also found visiting family as the pastime Portsmouth people feel safest undertaking now the strictest coronavirus measures have been lifted.

A total of 78.2 per cent of respondents said they feel comfortable or very comfortable meeting up with their nearest and dearest, compared to a fifth who do not.

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Faced with an indefinite clampdown on their freedoms the Roberts family, from Paulsgrove, feared home tensions could erupt as they stayed cooped up indoors.

Screen grab of prime minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation from 10 Downing Street, London, on March 23, as he placed the UK on lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

But mum Louise, 35, says lockdown has made her family life as close to ‘perfect' as ever – strengthening bonds between her and her daughters, Megan, 14 and Amy, 18.

She told The News: ‘I came out of a 16-year relationship in January, 2019 and lockdown has turned around what was a year of emotional and financial upset.

‘It’s like everything got better and something or someone transformed the way my girls are with each other.

‘Until lockdown they never got on, they would bicker and argue and they even had each other blocked on social media. That’s how bad it was.

‘We’re now the closest we have ever been and they’re good friends and help each other out. People wouldn't believe it.’

Lockdown brought more uncertainty to Louise’s home than most when it was imposed on March 23 because Amy was five months pregnant.

She is now a proud mother to a nine-week-old baby boy, Elijah, whose tender presence during lockdown would become the glue that bonds her now-changed family.

Amy said: ‘I think what brought us together was the baby. He changed everything and everyone started to get along better and talk more.

‘Me and my sister never got along until the baby was born but I’ve become a lot closer with her in lockdown.

‘We talk much more and I know I can rely on her to help with the baby if I need her to.’

Strict Covid-19 restrictions at Queen Alexandra Hospital meant Amy had to attend her antenatal appointments alone during lockdown.

But Louise, who was her designated birthing partner, said the government’s Covid-19 clampdown gave the family a pregnancy experience they seldom could have imagined when Amy discovered she was pregnant in December.

‘If we didn’t have the lockdown and Amy was pregnant, I might not have seen the whole pregnancy – we wouldn’t have had that time together,’ Louise said.

‘My family means everything to me – I live for them – and I now live for my lovely grandson too.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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