Georgina’s joy at going outdoors again after coronavirus shielding
A WOMAN who won national awards for creating an inclusive sports club has spoken of her excitement – and anxiety – at being able to leave her home after shielding for nearly two months.
Georgina Moore, from Chipping Sodbury, has a severe physical disability and was told that her condition made her vulnerable to COVID-19.
It meant Georgina, who lives in independent living accommodation supported by carers, was told to stay at home at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
But with shielding advice relaxed after 10 weeks of lockdown, Georgina was able to go outside of her home and garden.
Georgina said: “When I heard the Government announce that those of us shielding were advised that we could now go outside once a day, I was excited that I could finally walk my assistance dog again. It had been almost 2 months since I last went out the house and my carers were having to walk my dog daily.”
Georgina won the BBC South West Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero award for setting up the GEM Boccia Club at Yate Leisure Centre. She founded the club with financial help from Sports inclusion charity Access Sport, which aims to transform the lives of disabled and disadvantaged people through the power of sport, and won the charity’s Volunteer of the Year Award last year.
With medical experts advising that physical exercise is essential to managing the side effects of Georgina’s disability, including pain and fatigue, exercise also helps with Georgina’s mental health, meaning being able to go outdoors again means a lot to her.
But her first trip out wasn’t without nerves.
She said: “Then came the day and I was anxious. I was worried about people getting too close to me.
“Thankfully I live in a mostly rural area, so I thought as long as we go on a quiet route then we’ll be fine.
“There were still a few people out and at first, when I saw people coming towards us, I’d stop immediately, turn to my carer and say, ‘uh oh, people!’ However, everyone was so courteous and would move across the other side of the road or path.
“Strangely it didn’t feel like I hadn’t been out for almost two months. Perhaps it’s because I’m lucky and have a nice garden that I’ve been sitting out in.
“The one thing that I really noticed was the change in nature. All the beautiful flowers that had come out and all the birds singing. It really made me appreciate it so much more.
“I was nervous at first saying hello again to strangers, but that was short lived as I remembered how nice it is seeing friendly faces.”
Georgina is aware there are still risks.
She said: “I will continue my daily walks with my dog and carer, on quiet routes and ensuring I’m at least two metres away from people.
“I will not be going anywhere indoors or with lots of people.
“I believe too many people think they’re invincible, but I will not be taking that risk and the risk is still evident.
“I’ve survived lockdown so far and kept myself busy, so I will continue to do so until I believe it is safe otherwise.”
With her sports club currently unable to meet, Georgina has used her time in lockdown to raise money for NHS Charities together, by crocheting rainbows in exchange for donations.
She has raised more than £750 so far and her fundraising page can be found at justgiving.com/fundraising/gemsrainbows.
For more information on Access Sport, visit www.accesssport.org.uk.