Family members hug for the first time in 10 weeks thanks to 'support bubbles'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

These are just some of the heartwarming moments family and friends were reunited thanks to the introduction of 'social bubbles' - marked with a hug.

Ben and Lucy aren't sure what all this talk about bubbles is about but they do know it's two months since they last hugged Grandma. They're in a hurry to put that right.

Grandma Connie lives alone, which, under the new rules, means she no longer has to be socially distant from those she cares for most.

"It's been lovely to be able to see them at a distance but you just want to hug them," she tells ITV News.

Connie is delighted to be reunited with her grandchildren, Ben and Lucy. Credit: ITV News

Heidi, from Worthing, West Sussex, was also able to embrace Nana Pam on Saturday because her grandmother lives alone and can now pair with one other household for support without observing social distancing rules.

Heidi’s father Gareth Snow, 37, filmed the moment the “best friends” were reunited.

“Today we have been able to reunite Nana Pam with her granddaughter and best friend Heidi,” he told the PA news agency.

“It has been a long three months of FaceTime and doorstep hellos at a distance, which has been hard on both of them as they are usually so close.

“For those living alone this will make life so much easier – a little bit of ‘normal’.

The ‘protective bubble’ scheme came into effect on Saturday. Credit: @GarethSnow/Twitter

In Ashtead, Surrey, another grandparent was reunited with her family, including Emily, 10, Daisy, seven, and Benjamin, four, who had travelled from Bromley to see their grandmother.

Susan, who did not wish to give her second name, is retired and has been knitting jumpers for the trio during lockdown but it was the first time she had seen her grandchildren since March.

Susan reunited with her grandchildren, Emily (left), Benjamin (second left) and Daisy (right). Credit: PA

The new rule, which commenced on Saturday, means adults living alone or a single parent with children under the age of 18 can be treated as a single household for the purposes of following lockdown rules.

That means they can visit each other indoors in their homes – even staying overnight if they wish – and they will not have to observe the previous two-metre social-distancing rule.

The move comes ahead of a further easing of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England, with the reopening of non-essential shops on Monday.