COVID helped me build new friendships and try new things


Amber tells us how the pandemic led to her gaining new friendships and building confidence.

 Johnny, a Can Doer, with Carrie Tse, a Can Do Programme Coordinator, Amber, a Can Doer, Anil, a Can Doer, and Glen, a Can Doer, at the Can Do Steering Group

There are a few ways I have connected with people both in lockdown and after lockdown. During lockdown, I started the Change Makers programme, run by Leonard Cheshire. As part of Change Makers, I got the opportunity to become a lead reporter for Manchester.

Starting Change Makers

When I became a lead reporter for Manchester, I met different people doing the lead reporting elsewhere in England and Scotland. The group I was in started to meet once a week on zoom. We would chat about things that are important to us and maybe what we were interested in campaigning about. We formed a bond together and became good friends, which was special. We now all keep in touch on Discord, where we chat and see how we are all getting along. People in this group were all from different backgrounds.

I want to say a huge thanks to Leonard Cheshire for giving me the opportunity to take part in Change Makers. It has given me the confidence to go out and challenge the things which are important to me.

Trying to stay connected over lockdown

Over lockdown, AMP (accessible music project) continued weekly over zoom. Doing this helped as it meant I could still keep my connections with people from the project. We also worked on tracks for our album over zoom. This was interesting as I have never done music over zoom before. What I have enjoyed about coming back to the project after lockdown is seeing my friends and doing things we couldn’t do on zoom.

Change Makers has given me the confidence to go out and challenge the things which are important to me.

We also had a few house parties as part of AMP, which we could not do during lockdown. It has been nice as we get to meet up and have a dance and enjoy listening to different acts perform. I enjoy AMP as I have got to try new things I have never tried before.

Continuing after lockdown

Venture Arts has been incredible as it kept going through lockdown by doing zooms weekly such as the discos and footy club. It also meant I was still able to connect with my friends, and it meant I was not lonely. When Venture Arts reopened, it was great as it meant we could do things we were never able to do in lockdown, such as exhibitions.

Venture Arts is a charity based in Hulme in Manchester for people with a wide range of disabilities. It offers classes such as textiles, photography, ceramics, printmaking and 3D and animation.

What I gained from these experiences

All three things I am involved in have helped me try new experiences, make new friends and boost my confidence. I enjoy the opportunities I have got from these projects.

When you try new things, you get to make new connections with new people and try new experiences, which will boost your confidence.