For the best part of 20 years, Nikki Morgan has been tackling a chronic illness that has cut her off from the outside world. Nikki describes this period as a ‘dark place,’ suffering heavily with depression and a severe lack of self-belief. Fast track to the 23rd of March 2020, and the Prime Minister’s announcement of the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown orders everyone to stay at home – the one thing Nikki has been trying to combat for so long.
As restrictions eventually eased, Stockport Homes invited customers and tenants to a free photography course titled ‘Wave of Change,’ aiming to connect communities and bring together residents from all backgrounds to learn new skills and engage in something they never thought was possible.
“I was so nervous, but Chris my tutor was amazing. He put my nerves at ease and boosted my confidence. Photography has helped me so much. I now want to go outside and lift my head up to see the world for the first time.” Nikki adds.
This year's National Photography Competition, held at Birmingham’s Hyatt Hotel, was themed around #PullingTogether, images that capture the lockdown spirit that has helped to sustain us all. With 10 shortlisted photos from around 40 different entries from Almo’s up and down the country, Nikki’s photography, titled ‘take three’, claimed top spot on the night.
When Stockport Homes initially asked Nikki if she could take the photograph for our submission, she said the ‘Pulling Together’ brief immediately made her think of her family during lockdown; despite personal setbacks, Nikki’s nan, Frances, had become very frail and moved into the family home, with Nikki and her mother as full-time carers.
Lockdown has taught us all to be grateful for the little things. Without second thought, millions of people who struggle everyday with personal challenges sacrificed their time to help others. Nikki’s Nan has just turned 99, and to capture her in a Christmas tinsel headband makes it all worth it.