Middlesbrough people give personal pandemic stories to Covid-19 Inquiry

  • Kris Jepson went to speak to some of those sharing their stories with the Covid-19 Inquiry.

People in Middlesbrough have been sharing their personal stories of what they experienced during the pandemic with officials from the Covid-19 Inquiry.

The 'Every Story Matters' element of the inquiry involves mobile units travelling to villages, towns and cities across the UK to get insight from the general population about their experiences.

The recorded testimony will be considered by Baroness Hallett, the chair of the Covid-19 Inquiry, and help her make recommendations so the UK is better prepared for future pandemics.

Covid-19 Inquiry comes to Middlesbrough Credit: ITV News

People attending the drop in session at the Parkway Shopping Centre in Middlesbrough on Friday 16 February 2024 were given the opportunity to speak to inquiry officials and also counsellors in a trailer.

One woman who attended the drop-in told ITV News that living with the trauma of what happened has been particularly difficult.

She said: "It was a dreadful time for everybody and I don’t think everyone has recovered since Covid... Things haven’t been the same for a long time now, but we’ve survived and that’s the important thing."

It is hoped the inquiry can ascertain what the impact of the pandemic had on the population and what lessons need to be learned in the event of another pandemic. Those who could not make the drop in session, can also complete online forms to share their stories.

One man who shared his story and told ITV News: "It was good to talk to someone about the whole situation and know that someone has actually taken that information down and that at some point someone is going to look at it and assess it really."

A woman said: "They should highlight in case it ever happens again that there are people who were, unfortunately probably worse off than I am, who could have been on their own and really, really struggled."

Covid-19 Inquiry questionnaire handed to people in Middlesbrough Credit: ITV News

Inquiry Secretary Ben Connah said: "The inquiry must hear experiences from all corners of the country to ensure we get a full picture of the pandemic’s impact on people living and working across the UK.

"Each of us has a story to tell about the pandemic. Sadly, we know that hundreds of thousands of people lost loved ones, and many more became ill or suffered hardship or isolation. We really want to hear what you have to say."

Mark Adams, Joint Director of Public Health for South Tees, said: "The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound impact on all of us, and its after-effects will be felt for many years to come, for those directly affected by the virus, those who lost loved ones, those whose education was disrupted and those whose jobs and livelihoods were put on hold.

"It’s vital that we learn the lessons from our response to it, to ensure we are better prepared for the pandemics we will inevitably face in the future, and that’s why the work of the Covid-19 public inquiry is so important.

"This visit is a great opportunity for people to share their stories and make their voices heard, and I would encourage as many people as possible to take part."

Have you heard our new podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…