We have been helping families feel a little closer by capturing photos of them at home during lockdown.
We have teamed up with a photographer to take photos of their residents at home which can be shared digitally with loved ones. As the idea originated from a fundraising effort, Together Housing has also made a donation to NHS charities.
Ian Clark, Director of Strategy, Communications and Neighbourhoods, said: “We heard about a photographer who was taking doorstep photographs in his community to raise money for his local hospice and NHS charities. The idea is that those photos can be shared digitally with socially distant friends and family.
“We thought it was a lovely idea. Many of our staff are still working on the frontline, delivering food parcels and medication to residents, and they keep telling us about all the amazing things our tenants are doing. From one resident who is busy making ventilators for the NHS to another who has organised a ‘sanity hour’ for her neighbours who are on their own, we wanted to celebrate not only our key workers but the resilient British spirit that this pandemic has brought out.”
Photographer Gareth Jones takes images of families from their front garden, sticking to the minimum of two metres away social distancing (keeping both himself and families safe).
Gareth said: “After four weeks of being at home with my children, I realised I hadn’t picked up my camera in that time. It got me thinking, we miss seeing our family and friends and my children miss seeing their grandparents, everyone else must feel the same.
“So I put something on Facebook offering to come to your garden gate and photograph your family at your front door in return for a donation to Queenscourt Hospice or NHS charities.”
Since then, Gareth has taken photos of more than 70 families and raised over £1,500 for charity. Other photographers around the country have also been inspired to take up the idea in their communities.
Gareth added: “The photoshoot for Together Housing, was fantastic. I’m a people person – one of the best things about being a photographer is the different people you get to meet every day and that is what I’ve missed the most. It was lovely spending a day chatting to key workers and seeing how neighbours are supporting each other – from a safe distance of course.
“There’s only so much creativity you can have with people standing on doorsteps but I try and make all the photos unique. The beauty of teaming up with a housing association is you get a really diverse mix of people and we’ve also been able to include people who live on their own so they can send the photos to their grandkids to let them know their neighbours are looking out for them.”
Ian added: “A picture speaks a thousand words and those words couldn’t be any more appropriate in these unprecedented times.
“With government guidelines keeping us safe, it is with heavy hearts we stay at home and protect our loved ones. Missing family and friends is an unwanted stress at this current time and seeing your nearest and dearest seems a distance memory.
“At a time where every day is like the unknown, we wanted to do something nice to put a smile on our residents’ faces.
“This moment is going to go down in history and when the kids in these photos grow up and their grandchildren ask them where they were when the pandemic hit, they will be able to show them these photos and tell them how people came together while being kept apart.”
Danielle Pearson, a single mum from Blackburn, said: “Overall we’ve been fine. Lily and I have been baking, reading and playing, basically trying to do everything she would be doing at nursery. Of course, it can get a bit boring and frustrating at times, but we are happy and doing what we need to do to get through this together.”
If you would like your picture taken, private message Gareth on Facebook (www.facebook.com/photogareth).
To make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gareth-jones-355lockdownfrontdoorstepphotography