Tindle newspapers in Wales have been running a weekly Life in Lockdown supplement to help send messages of support to loved ones separated by the coronavirus restrictions.
The weekly Brecon and Radnor Express initially ran a three-page feature spread entitled ‘We Love Our Families’ to ease the separation of grandparents from grandchildren, and since then the initiative has been featured in the group’s sister titles, the Abergavenny Chronicle and Monmouth Beacon.
But the Express also had its own experience of adapting to remote life. In the first week of lockdown the paper’s team got to grips with making the transition from broadsheet to tabloid.
Nonetheless, such was the success of using the local paper to send messages between families in lockdown, Liz Davies, Regional Editor of Brecon and Radnor Express, told the SoE how the paper chose to extend the initiative to local care homes to feature pictures of residents sending messages to their families.
And the scheme grew to encompass the whole community.
Davies said: “Every week in the supplement we’ve tried to run a picture special allowing readers to pay tribute to local heroes such as NHS staff and other key workers. Our most recent highlighted the brilliant work being done in rural area by postmen and women and delivery drivers.”
The Welsh government has taken a different approach to the easing of lockdown regulations. Unlike in England, Welsh households are reminded to remain within a 5-mile travel radius when meeting another household outside, so meeting loved ones is one step too far in some rural communities.
Davies added, “I think it has certainly helped keep the paper in touch with the community during difficult times especially in our more rural areas where the local paper is a vital part of the weekly routine.”