Before this awful pandemic hit us, I was going out of the house nearly every day for one reason or another, but the highlight of my week was Wednesday mornings – despite having to get up at 6 am. This is quite early for me these days – I used to do it every weekday when I was working in Cambridge but now only Wednesdays. I really enjoyed going into the prison to help in an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class. It’s quite varied, but mainly it’s about giving some one-to-one support to learners and encouraging them in their learning of English. It’s certainly made me realise how complicated the English language is, and sometimes I struggle to explain things, but the teacher is always on hand and has a real knack for explaining the grammar.
I’m very much hoping we will be able to get back to our volunteering activities soon – I’m going to write again to Damian Evans (the director at HMP Peterborough) and see when he thinks it may be possible for certain activities to resume.
I really miss going into the ESOL class – I miss talking to the really great teacher and I miss the learners. It’s a studious class and the majority of people are keen to learn, but we often have a laugh as well. I’ve been told by the teacher that she is taking packs of work to the learners so that they can continue with their learning during this very difficult time in the prison. She takes the packs to their cells and is able to wave to them but that’s about it. The change in regime must be taking its toll on everyone at the prison and I really can’t imagine how hard it must be.
One of my other activities was that I used to go swimming twice a week at the local pool in Whittlesey – it’s a very nice pool too – and I’m really missing this as well. I think I will have to allow quite a bit longer to do my fifty lengths, when the pool eventually opens again!
I listen to the radio quite a bit and often you hear little stories about what people have been doing in lockdown. I wish I could tell you that I’d re-read Jane Eyre or other such classics, but I don’t seem to have found the time! I have been enjoying our garden – it makes such a difference to be able to spend time outdoors. I’m also very lucky to live with my husband Alan – mind you I’m not sure how he feels, as before all this he used to have the house to himself for large parts of the week!
Jen – FOPP Volunteer and Director.