COVID-19: The key worker diaries

25th Jun 2020

Unique memoirs of four parents enduring lockdown in poverty.

The immense pressures of lockdown for the families of low paid key workers have been brought into sharp focus in a unique project. Working with the journalist Sharon Hendry, JRF asked four families to keep personal diaries for two weeks in the early days of the pandemic.

The diarists, who were already trapped in poverty, write powerfully about the new stresses the lockdown has brought to their lives.

These diaries form a unique memoir of the challenges faced by parents. They were written in April, when across society we were stocking up on essentials fearful of catching the virus. This is when parents were first faced with the combined challenge of disruptions to their working lives and the pressures of home schooling.

The diaries give a picture of the increased claustrophobia of cramped housing, long unsociable working hours affecting the whole family, the enduring love of parents unwilling to let their children’s education suffer, and the challenges of accessing social security to help stay afloat.