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How one Norwich flat spread love during coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 09:41 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:42 26 March 2020

Isobel Mathews-Hiskett and Grace Morley reached out to their neighbours in Norwich during coronavirus. Picture: Isobel Mathews-Hiskett

Isobel Mathews-Hiskett and Grace Morley reached out to their neighbours in Norwich during coronavirus. Picture: Isobel Mathews-Hiskett

Archant

A well-wishing message left by two Norwich flatmates to cheer people up during the coronavirus outbreak has spurned a heart-warming chain of responses from their neighbours.

Isobel Mathews-Hiskett, who works at Franks Bar, and her flatmate Grace Morley, a textiles student at Norwich University of the Arts, began self-isolating a week ago but craved human interaction.

Miss Mathews-Hiskett, who moved into their city centre flat two years ago, realised she did not know her neighbours and decided to make a change.

Measures to curtail coronavirus, which has left people feeling lonely, inspired the duo to turn a positive out of a negative and contact other flats by letter.

They wrote a note, which was slipped under doors, offering records, books and company.

The 23-year-old said: “Everyone is feeling isolated and it is such a strange time as society hasn’t been through this before. It’s nice to make people feel safe when they’re feeling unsafe with everything going on. We’d seen other people doing arts and crafts to cheer people up and thought we should do something similar.”

But she did not expect the overwhelming response in which each flat replied with a different gesture over the coming days.

The first flat customised a letter and extended an offer for a cup of tea on the shared landing at a safe distance – which they took up.

Miss Mathews-Hiskett said: “We chatted about everything and she was such a lovely lady. It is so important to keep communicating.”

Next they received a postcard with a bottle of red wine and chocolate on their doorstep.

The final flat left a box filled with vegan stew with a list of ingredients thoughtfully attached in case they suffered from allergies.

Miss Mathews-Hiskett said: “It made us feel so good and I hope it made them feel good too. It is lovely to get some love back. I think a positive thing to come out of this is to communicate in ways we’ve lost such as letter writing. It has been great to branch out.”

She plans to invite them all round for dinner or a party once the pandemic is over.


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