Kenny’s Story

Kenny’s Story

“…it was probably the most consistent, in
terms of my exercising, I’ve ever been”

“So, I work within the sports and physical activity team with ERCL… I’ve got colleagues who manage Sports and Community… and the Active Schools team and the Health and Wellbeing team as well. So I get to see the kinda stuff that they do… But because obviously the situation… when the camps came up, it’s something that I might be able to help out at… I was quite happy to lend a hand as long as… everyone was happy for me to switch departments a wee bit… So that was a two week period in April (2020) I helped out with Easter camps… where the keyworker’s children from parts of East Renfrewshire were able to come and more or less be looked after while parents were off to work, or back off a shift and needing to go to bed and things like that, where they would normally have been going to school or nursery care.”

“Kids were generally just taking it in their stride. Just, it very quickly became a bit of a normal for them, eh very adaptable.”

“They understood that it was a different situation [from] what they would normally be. But in terms of the day to day, what they were to do, once they were in and once they’d had a day or two of it… they are absolutely fine.”

Kenny McDonnell at Eastwood High School sports complex, photograph by Wes Kingston

“Personally… I myself would go out for walks at night and I would go out for runs and… because I work in a gym environment and we’d allowed staff to take [an] amount of equipment home with them… I was able to take a couple of bits and pieces home with me. So my wife and I were actually able to do… basic circuit sessions and I’m a trained gym instructor, personal trainer so [laughs] it basically meant we’d do a couple of sessions a week and I still maintain to this day throughout the whole of Covid… it was probably the most consistent in terms of my exercising I’ve ever been… So for me personally, that was a huge thing. I was able to train in the house, I was able to go out for runs and I was able to do it like week after week after week and actually see myself improving in it. So that, for my mental health, I think that was a huge thing.”

“It was just the time being able to spend with my kids and the time being able to spend with my wife, it just, it was time we would never normally have done… It wasn’t always rosy but it was just much more time being able to cook for ourselves… we’ve not got any time pressures to be anywhere. We’ve no’ got anything… to worry about or to… try and prepare for… I mean, I suppose you can go into things like work life balance. Like you become much more aware of, ‘Well actually I do quite enjoy this.’ So maybe working all the time and constantly saying ‘no’ to doing things with your kids or other things that you enjoy. Aye, it’s maybe not all it’s cracked up to be. Like eh, trying to find a better work life balance was, it just put things into a bit more perspective, that’s probably the best way of putting it.”

Testimony of Kenny McDonnell,
Gyms and Fitness Team Leader, ERCL
Photography by Wes Kingston
Interview & transcript by Amanda Robb

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