Brighton & Hove Green Party Councillor Elaine Hills has revealed the results of a study into how lockdown has affected Hanover and Elm Grove residents

Survey reveals local life during lockdown

In an open letter to her ward, Green Party ouncillor Elaine Hills has revealed the results of a study into how lockdown has affected Hanover and Elm Grove residents. It offers a compelling insight into the nuances of the pandemic’s impact on this part of the city.

Covid-19 has affected residents’ lives in different ways, inevitably causing a lot of distress. The survey began by examining which areas of people’s lives were most negatively impacted by Covid-19. Most respondents (69%) said their social and holiday plans were hit hardest, with only 3% not considering themselves impacted this way. Employment was also an issue for many, with 63% of respondents concerned about jobs and businesses during lockdown.

The last six months have witnessed a significant jump in people ‘employed and working from home’ (29%), whilst only a small handful of residents (8%) experienced no change in their employment situation.

Around 3% of locals have not been able to work during this time and were left unemployed. Working hours have increased for many of those continuing to work during the pandemic (15.1%), whilst only 3.8% of working people’s hours were reduced.

Most self-employed people continued to work, but 96% of those unable to work say they were not supported financially, exposing the hardships faced by this sector.

About 5% of residents said their current employment situation was being supported by universal credit, and 6.3% of people relied on other benefits as income during this time. The biggest concern around lockdown and employment (49%) was the conditions at work during Covid-19. This may indicate many felt working conditions were not socially distanced or clean enough. Meanwhile, many residents (25.1%) said they weren’t concerned about losing contact with work colleagues during this time.

Unfortunately, 62% of residents were concerned about paying for basics, such as rent, food and energy bills, during lockdown. Similarly, 58% of residents expressed no concern over luxuries such as clothes or entertainment, during this time.

Looking to the future, 42.5% were concerned about their career or business, whilst 40.8% had no such worries.

Understandably, 90% of respondents were concerned about contracting Covid-19, with 19% feeling really concerned. Worries about physical health have been felt by many during the crisis: 38% claimed the pandemic has had some impact, with just 19% claiming it to have none. A higher number were unconcerned about their weight during lockdown (38%) than those who were overly concerned (14%).

Mental health has been drastically affected during the pandemic, with 89% of respondents reporting varying levels of impact. Only 12% of respondents reported no concern over levels of anxiety, with 29% stating they are really concerned.

An overwhelming number of those who responded to the survey (96%) feel their family has been massively impacted during the pandemic. Furthermore, most respondents (98%) felt concern over the health of their loved ones. 40% are really concerned about missing the family members they cannot see, and 30% are really concerned about missing their friends.

There have been a few positive impacts of the lockdown period. Many residents have exploiting the pause on normality, with a 69% of respondents enjoying taking life at a slower pace. Almost half (49%) spent time in the garden, while 32% have been spring cleaning and tidying up their homes.

Many people have developed their kitchen skills (43%), given more time for reading (36%) and learning new hobbies and crafts (22%). Most importantly, respondents (44%) have valued spending extra time with their family and have been thinking of others and acting on behalf of those more vulnerable (50%).

The survey has also offered fascinating insights on how local communities, non-profit organisations and businesses have come together, and paints a positive picture for the future. To read the letter in full, CLICK HERE

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