Borders Buddies – Getting Back!

The Purpose of Borders Buddies

The Borders Buddies project in Tweeddale supports people in their journey of returning to what they used to do before the pandemic. There is no ‘one size fits all’ method for this; each case is taken on an individual basis. Borders Buddies knows that everyone has different practical needs and a different outlook on what feels safe enough for them.

Hearing from the community

We have asking different people how they feel about beginning to get out and about again and what they have been managing to do.

‘This mask-wearing is exhausting’ said one person we spoke to: ‘It really makes me hot and tired, but it’s still worth it to be able to go to the events I want to go to. The first time I went to a theatre event, there were no masks, but we had to sit seats apart from people. This meant I was shouting across to my friend to make myself heard. Although now you have to wear a mask, because there is no social distancing, I prefer this – at least you can chat to the person next to you.’

Another member of the community we spoke to told us that they have not been to the supermarket yet: ‘My husband does that,’ she told us. However, she has started returning to the groups which kept her going before lockdown: ‘I feel fine volunteering at the charity shop, we only have a couple of customers in at a time, and it all feels very safe. But I was exhausted after the first shift – I’m not used to standing! I’ve been sitting around at home for so long!’

Someone else told us that her Women’s Rural group had started meeting up again: ‘We had big tables, we wore masks until we sat down, then we were sitting well apart. One person was the ‘tea lady’, she came round and poured tea into our mugs (we brought our own) without actually touching them. So that all felt fine. It was so good to see the others again and to catch up after all this time.’

Another local group were meeting outdoors at a pub: ‘But it’s getting too chilly now, so we’ve moved inside. Some people understandably feel they are not ready to do this yet, while others have weighed up the benefits against the risks – and decided they’d rather see their friends once a week, than sit at home doing nothing.’

We also spoke to a group of local actors and asked them how they manage to rehearse and strut the boards safely? ‘During rehearsals, we all agreed we felt fine without face coverings. If one person had wanted to wear a mask, we would have respected that. During the show, when we were sitting in the front row of the audience, waiting for our turn, we wore a face covering. Then when it was our turn on stage, we removed the masks.’

Listen to your instincts

The key message seems to be, it’s all about how you feel. What feels right for one person might not feel right for you. You need to listen to what your instincts tell you and what you feel comfortable with. If everyone else is sitting in a room with no face coverings, but you would prefer to wear a mask or visor, that’s fine! Do what feels safe for you.