Transitioning through lockdown with my buddy Maria

Hello, everyone. My name is Saihan Islam and I'm passionate about campaigning for more understanding and support for people with disabilities. 

A young man is sitting by a table, with one arm resting on it. He's wearing glasses and a white polo shirt.

Lockdown was tough for us all, and since the pandemic started, finding new ways to do the things we love has been difficult. Luckily for me, I have had my Sense Volunteer Buddy to talk to and have fun with. This has meant so much to me. It's given me something to look forward to each week.

Transitioning through lockdown

Before the pandemic, I was always busy balancing schoolwork, my youth clubs and my mental health sessions. It could be difficult juggling my school and personal life, but I loved it. When lockdown started, I felt quite isolated and scared. Usually, when things make me anxious, I go to my mental health sessions. It helps me to feel a lot better. But when these stopped, it made me feel even more anxious.

I have had a few Sense buddies over the years, which I've loved. I always enjoy the sessions. We usually go out into the community and do all sorts of cool activities. As various lockdowns drew closer, I soon realised that this was going to have to stop too.

My buddy helped me through all the uncertainty

Through all this change, Maria, my buddy, was fantastic. Instead of arranging trips out, we started to arrange video chats. When we learned how to share a screen, we started having our own movie sessions too. I'm passionate about politics and history, and the King's speech became a favourite of ours.

Having a volunteer buddy is so important to me. Especially when other services had to stop. Maria is someone that I can talk to outside of my family which is great when I am feeling anxious. She is always kind and helpful. Also, I learn a lot from her. If it wasn’t for my buddy, I wouldn’t know much about Dunkirk or the Ottomans! I still get worried about things from time to time but Maria helps me take my mind off things.

The future looks bright

When this is all over, there are lots of things that I am looking forward to doing. Seeing Maria for our sessions is definitely high on my list, but I really want to go back and see everyone at the Sense office in London. Sense volunteers have helped me so much and I would love to volunteer my time too and help other people.

Thank you, Maria, and all the other Sense Buddies out there for all your hard work and dedication!

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