‘A day in the life of’ Director of Public Health report 2020 gives a unique insight into residents’ lives

Today cabinet members discussed and noted the Director of Public Health report 2020. The report is based on residents' diary entries on how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted their daily lives. 

Titled ‘A day in the life of’, the campaign provided residents with an opportunity to tell the council how the pandemic has changed their lives by recording their thoughts and feelings about their mental and physical health on a short and simple diary sheet on Tuesday 3 November 2020. 

The council received 320 diary entries, which were read and analysed to highlight six key themes: 

  1. Having good mental health and positivity
  2. Keeping our spirits high
  3. The importance of a good job and work-life balance
  4. Our connections with others
  5. Helping each other and community spirit
  6. Our self-care

Throughout the report, the findings are backed up with anonymous quotes from residents. The quotes showed a range of experiences and emotions, including sadness, boredom, isolation and fear - but also love, care, hope and connection.  

“Barnsley people are renowned for their kindness anyway but in these unprecedented times they have been magnificent. Their generosity holds no bounds.” - Female, 63 

“There are positives from the pandemic though... from being at home more, I’ve formed really good relationships with my neighbours, meaning we now watch out for each other and do neighbourly things like taking in parcels and putting the bins out for each other.” - Male, 26 

“Missing giving our family a hug, we speak most days on the phone but you miss contact, but it has to be done to keep us safe.” - Female, 70 

Julia Burrows, Barnsley Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “I want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to complete a diary, as it provides us with unique insight into how people are coping with the pandemic. We’ll use the information to make sure we’re providing the best services, and it will influence our COVID-19 recovery plans, Health and Wellbeing Board strategy, Public Health strategy and much more.  

“The report is also a piece of history, for us to remember and reflect on what it was like living and working in Barnsley at that point in time. 

“The Coronavirus pandemic has presented many challenges which people have coped with in different ways. The report shows the toll it has taken on people’s mental and physical health, but there are also stories of hope, community spirit and kindness. I hope some of these positives, including looking out for one another, we can continue as we move forward.” 

Read the Director of Public Health report 2020. 

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