Sunderland schoolchildren help capture life in lockdown with Covid community quilt

Children from Seaburn Dene Primary School and Cuthbertson Court sheltered accommodation have teamed up to create a Covid community quilt to capture life in lockdown during the pandemic.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:35 am

The design, which was revealed in the school hall on Friday, features quilt panels created by children during lockdown and older residents living in the community.

Year 5 pupil Isabella Sloanes, nine, said: “My design shows a person reaching out to another person for friendship but they can’t come together because of the two metre social distancing rule.

"When I saw the end result I thought it was great. The hardest thing I found during lockdown was not being able to see family and friends.”

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Cuthbertson Court sheltered accommodation residents (left to right) Joyce Evans, Margaret Clarkson and Andrea Foster with their quilt patch designs.

Class mate Ava Reynolds, 10, added: “My patch shows two people linked together to show the importance of coming together to support each other. I think lockdown showed how kind people can be as everyone wanted to help each other.

"The quilt really shows how the community has come together and I’m really proud of myself and everyone who has taken part. The hardest thing for me during lockdown was having to Face Time family and friends and not being able to see them in person.”

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The quilt will now act as a snapshot, depicting the perception of life in lockdown at both ends of the age spectrum with the quilt showing the commonality of the trials and tribulations inflicted by the pandemic whatever people’s age.

Isabella Sloans's quilt patch showing people separated by the two metre rule.

Cuthbertson Court resident Andrea Foster, 71, said: “I found the whole experience very therapeutic as it really brought out how people were feeling about the pandemic. The hardest part for me was not being able to see friends and family and give them a hug.

"The key part of my design was the things I remember about the pandemic – the masks, the hand washing and our gratitude to the NHS.”

Andrea is now looking forward to being invited into the school to see the final result.

The former assistant manager at Joplings said: “It was nice to do something for the local community and hopefully create a little piece of history. At the start of the pandemic we lost everything but now things are slowly getting back to normal.”

Ava Reynolds's quilt patch showing how people came together to help each other during the pandemic.

The task of piecing the patchwork quilt together fell to Year 1 teacher Vicky Tough who feels the creation of the quilt mirrors some of the key features of the pandemic experienced by wider society.

Vicky said: “My mam is a quilter. Unfortunately we couldn’t all be together in class and so the children and residents did their own individual bits which we were then able to bring together – a bit like what was happening up and down the country throughout the pandemic.

"I think the key message is how the community came together to support each other and not giving up.”

Ava Reynolds (left) ,10, and Isabella Sloanes, 9, following the unveiling of the lockdown quilt at Seaburn Dene Primary School.

Head teacher John Howe added: “I think the quilt looks fantastic and has a narrative running through it of togetherness, friendship and love. You can see straight away how both the children and community were feeling.

"It’s also interesting to see the similarities in challenges being experienced by the different generations.”

The project was financed by Sunderland City Council North Area Committee Covid Support fund and North East Sport.

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