Disabled Mirfield woman shielding at home talks about how she felt forgotten during pandemic

A disabled woman shielding at home for a year has told how she felt forgotten and wished for Covid-19 “because at least then I would get some attention.”

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 10:53 am

Julie Murphy, 70, was advised by the Government to stay at home at the start of the pandemic – and she hasn’t been out since.

Government advice is to continue shielding until at least the end of March as the roll-out of the vaccine continues apace.

Julie, of Mirfield, has a son and a grandson that she hasn’t seen for 12 months. Her son also has a disability and is shielding. They keep in touch on the phone.

Julie Murphy who is shielding and has been having Zoom calls as part of a Jo Cox Foundation project.
Julie Murphy who is shielding and has been having Zoom calls as part of a Jo Cox Foundation project.

Julie’s lifeline, however, has been an online project run by the Batley-based Jo Cox Foundation. Julie is one of 50 people who have taken part in the ‘Community Makes Us’ project.

Small groups of people come together on a computer screen to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences of lockdown.

“For me it highlighted the frustrations of people in the disabled community,” said Julie. “I live on my own and I have not been out of my house for a year.

“This project allowed me to have a voice because when you’ve been locked down for a year and can’t see family – and also my dog died – you feel you have been forgotten. The group made me feel needed.

“At one point in my deepest depression I wished I could have had Covid because at least then I would get some attention.”

Julie said while the end of the pandemic was in sight she was worried about venturing back into the world.

“I am not sure I dare go out of my front door again,” she said. “My fear is I might never go out again, that’s a real scare for people who have been shielding.

“I remember the hardships of the war with bombs dropping but at least you could go outside and were with people.

“All this has brought to the fore that we are social animals and we need each other. That’s what’s been so terrible.

“Let’s hope we can all help each other when this is over.”