Sabden Photo Exhibition 2021 (Johnson Fold)
During August 2021, our Community Investment staff teamed-up with 19-year-old Milly Stanworth- a local photographer who’d been recommended to us by a member of the Sabden Growers group.
The goal? To create something that’d celebrate local people, spotlight their experiences during the pandemic, and spread a hopeful message by showcasing their aspirations going forward.
Click or tap the tiles below to see the photos and hear the stories of how the pandemic changed the lives of those featured.
"At the start it was horrendous, scary, lonely and stressful, with no end in sight!"
“At the start it was horrendous, scary, lonely and stressful, with no end in sight!
My son had been diagnosed with Diabetes and only one parent was allowed to go to hospital with him, his whole routine had to change.
Our two families moved in together, so we were in the same bubble, which meant we could support each other, we had someone to moan and cry at.
Both our husbands have worked throughout.
Then two of us caught COVID and everyone went into isolation, so we lost our bubble. We hated being stuck in.
When we were allowed out, we would go on walks to Doffcocker and Moss Bank Park, even if it was grey, even if it rained, we would go out.
We attempted gardening and growing veg; spring onions, potatoes, stripy tomatoes and purple carrots.”
“Hopes for the future? NO more COVID! We want to go on a family holiday together, to Spain or Turkey.”
“I want to climb trees!”
“I want to go to the top of the moon!”
"At first it didn’t bother me but then it started slowly to catch up."
“At first it didn’t bother me but then it started slowly to catch up.
It affects you because you can’t do the things you normally do.
Being locked in, I’m used to going out and that all stopped.
Constantly looking at four walls drives you mad. Not only that, I had to look after my disabled daughter, and we had to find different ways to cope with it.
She sees things differently and needs routine, so we would go out in the van and have a drive round, we didn’t go out of Bolton, we didn’t come into contact with people but it gave us a bit of freedom out of the house, seeing something different.
We don’t have a TV so we had to find DVDs. We watched a lot of films but after a while we ran out of things to do. We had a lot of arguments when we were locked up, basically because we were in each other’s company all the time. It put a strain on our relationship but we are getting over it now.
It feels a lot easier now because we can actually get out and communicate with our families and see them. I didn’t see my family for quite a while.
It’s a lot better now I’m getting out, I’m in a really good place, where I should have been a long time ago.”
"I didn’t think much of it at the beginning, I thought it would be over in a couple of months."
"I didn’t think much of it at the beginning, I thought it would be over in a couple of months.
My daughter didn’t understand why she couldn’t do her usual stuff like swimming and going to the play centres, those sort of things. It didn’t really affect her in the sense of her mental health, she just knew that there were bad germs going around and we had to be careful.
I had to be furloughed for a month and then because I work in a nursery we were open for key worker children. This whole situation has affected her learning. She was doing ok at school but now she is behind in some areas and they say it’s due to COVID.
It was hard teaching at home, they don’t associate home with learning, home is a place to play and relax, not a place to do six hours of learning a day.
I feel more cautious, I don’t want to get my hopes up now, thinking that things are going back to normal and then we go into another lockdown. I had my first vaccine and I’ve just had my second but there was all this information on social media with people saying different things, and it made me question whether I should take it or not. It made me feel really anxious.
What was good about this situation is that it was nice to have the extra time with my daughter, we don’t usually get that time together. We went on lots of walks with the dog around the estate and the park, getting plenty of fresh air.”
"I was a bit frightened of what it was."
"I was a bit frightened of what it was.
At my age I was high risk, I’m 80. I didn’t go out for the first three months, and then only for taking the dog for a walk, my partner did the shopping occasionally, but it was mostly delivered.
I’m one of these people who thinks: ‘If I get it, I get it’. As soon as I could have my first injection I was down there straight away, but even now we are still careful.
Later on we still didn’t go anywhere, we didn’t let it bother us, in that sense, with being frightened, we tried to stay calm, we washed our hands, we kept our faces covered and we didn’t go near anybody.
I need to keep busy, I did a lot of reading and word search books, trying to keep my mind occupied.
At the moment I feel on top of the world.
I go shopping, take the dog for the walk. I still wear my mask, you just don’t know.
I don’t think it’s gone away all together. I’m hoping it goes away completely, my partner wants to feel comfortable to see her family. They are only 40 minutes away but she hasn’t seen them for 18 months since this all started.”
"I was pregnant at the start and then had our baby."
“I was pregnant at the start and then had our baby.
When I had the boys, I could have my mum and my partner at the delivery but during the pandemic I could only have my partner.
Not being able to have my mum there was not very nice, because we all want our mums, don’t we! I don’t care what age you are, we all need our mums.
I was kept in the hospital for four days and my family were not allowed to come in, so my mum brought the boys up for half an hour in the car park, just so I could see them."
“And you cried mum!
The first time I saw my sister was on FaceTime.”
“In the future, we can’t wait to go on holiday, get the kids abroad again. We would love to go to Fuerteventura.”
“And I can’t wait to start football.”
"We had to stay at home and all their schoolwork was on video which was very difficult."
“We had to stay at home and all their schoolwork was on video which was very difficult. We split the workload, I did phonics and he did maths.”
“We walked to the shop every Wednesday. We didn’t catch the bus because we weren’t sure if it was safe. We didn’t know what the rules were, whether you had to wear a mask. We shopped for our neighbour too.”
“When I stopped working, we had a gap where we had nothing, the food banks really helped us out.
Another thing that was hard for me was going to hospital appointments by myself. I’m pregnant and due in September, we are all very excited!
It was good that we had more family time, we did more stuff together and tried out new crafts.”
"We kept in touch 24/7. And to keep morale up we kept each other entertained through banter and a lot of chat."
“During the pandemic, Bolton Live made sure the right health facts, news and government guidelines came out at a timely fashion.
We also created interactive, live, mental health content.
Due to the nature of the news we were bombarded with hard hitting statistics.
We kept in touch 24/7. And to keep morale up we kept each other entertained through banter and a lot of chat.
We’ve done a lot of planning during this time and we will become a CIC within the next 18 months, and we are currently hunting for a permanent base for a live studio and news desk.”
"For us it was very hard to understand what was going on and even now we don’t understand fully."
CONGOLESE WOMEN - UNITY IS STRENGTH:
“For us it was very hard to understand what was going on and even now we don’t understand fully.
In our countries we are not used to being locked in the house without going anywhere. But with this it’s very hard.
People have been stressed about the situation, some people got sick about it, sick of mind because there are people who are single and they live by themselves.
They can’t go in an open place to meet somebody else, so it made them very stressed.
We kept in contact by phone, calling everyone, asking what’s going on, we have a group chat.
At the moment they are feeling better, a bit free. We can meet with others, go to our parties sometimes, no more stress!
In the future what I’m looking for is developing our group. I want the best for our community of women.
Many of them want to work, many of them want to do stuff but because of lack of English they can’t do it.
I want them to have a minimum of English so that they can work.
They can do anything they want. The development of the community is the best thing.”
"We are just trying to get the church fully functioning and back to normal, and hopefully we can start our community events again."
COPTIC CHRISTIAN CHURCH:
“We had all our meetings and Sunday School on Zoom and a congregation meeting every Friday with up to 34 families attending online from across Bolton, who are Sudanese, Egyptian, Iraqi and Jordanian.
To be honest it was difficult to serve the people like that. They had some physical and psychological needs that we couldn’t fulfil completely, but we are trying to mend that now, getting the people back to the church, which is a bit of a struggle. But it’s definitely affected them being locked up like that.
We are just about to start an activity over the holidays for the children on a Wednesday now, so they have something to do.
And on Saturdays after service we have sewing sessions with Make New and Mend.
We are just trying to get the church fully functioning and back to normal, and hopefully we can start our community events again.”
“It’s not been the same because we’ve been doing stuff on our own.”
“Very lonely and repetitive”
“We’ve had a lot of contact online and the wonderful Christine has dropped us packs off but it’s not been the same because we’ve been doing stuff on our own. And sometimes you can’t be bothered.”
“I don’t know if there are words”,
“Getting back to a bit of normality”
“Freedom away from the kids for a couple of hours”
“It was the first time we met up today”
WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?
“We just want to keep meeting up now”
“All I want is a bit of me time”
“It’s all about me!”
Future Females is a women’s group, which meets up on a Friday.
Email Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
"It’s taught me patience and to go slowly with things. There’s no more worry, dashing here and there, it’s taught me to slow down.”
“When the pandemic started my group Johnson F’oldies had to stop meeting, we are an over 50’s group and not all of us are up to date with computers, or they don’t have one.
So, to keep in touch we put a well-being pack together and delivered them to everyone.
It included a book, word search, pack of cards and a quiz.
Then at Christmas I sent out Christmas cards and little things like that, so people knew we were there.
I hope the group gets off the ground again soon. It’s a bit difficult because of our ages, but I hope through the pandemic people have realised they should get out more.
Personally, it’s taught me patience and to go slowly with things. There’s no more worry, dashing here and there, it’s taught me to slow down.”
“We want to get people back on site, to do wood work, tin art, recycle stuff and even a few days out.”
MEN IN SHEDS:
“We’ve supported Sabden Growers during lockdown.
COVID restrictions limited the amount of people we could have on site.”
“The site was not fit for purpose, so we put the workshop under cover and developed the main shed.
We now have provisions for brewing up and more space for community group use.”
“We want to get people back on site, to do wood work, tin art, recycle stuff and even a few days out.”
They meet every Monday on site, 10am – 2pm.
"At the very beginning of lockdown it was just the two of us and now we’ve grown."
“At the very beginning of lockdown it was just the two of us and now we’ve grown.
Slowly the numbers went up, we’ve had people reaching out from all different backgrounds asking to join us.”
“During COVID we’ve given out boxes of chocolates to 40 elderly residents, and 40 Christmas hampers out to families.
We delivered 30 little plant pots for people to grow at home, made apple crumbles and pies to raise money for the project and all year round we have given out veg and fruit to the community.”
“For me it’s been a life saver.
I’ve just come out of an abusive relationship and it’s showed me there was life after domestic abuse.
I’ve got a support network, I’ve got friends.”
“In the future, we just want to keep doing what we are doing, we are here to educate people about growing and chicken husbandry.”
“We still kept going.”
TRIANGE CHURCH, ST ANDREWS, & SMITHILLS CHURCH:
“We still kept going.”
“Smithills, Bury Bridge, St Peter’s and St Andrews had joint weekly services online, and the Light House group for the children and the youth club.
We also had prayer meetings online too.”
“Urban Outreach lunches is the first time we got together in person as three different churches giving out lunches to children on the estate, we are doing this until September, till they go back to school”
“I feel very good getting back into the Hope Centre and being with people”
Spot anyone you know?
After debuting in-person at the Sabden Growing site (Johnson Fold), positive reactions from residents made it clear we’d need to ‘digitalise’ the exhibition so more of you could experience it. We hope you enjoy it as much as local residents did.
All of the images in this album were captured by Milly and are accompanied by each residents’/groups’ stories, which were collected by Danielle and Demi from our Community Investment Team.
Thanks to everyone that’d contributed to the exhibition. Fantastic work all round.