By William Lailey and Jess Grieveson-Smith
A young family are adapting to their new life on a boat – while under lock down.
Georgia Howe, 24 and partner Dan Butler, 26 along with their three year old daughter, Skylar have been living on a canal boat for the last eight months, but as the Coronavirus pandemic takes over, the family have found themselves having to adapt to new challenges.
The family have experienced difficulty in being able to social distance as their once quiet towpaths are now filled with people trying to escape the cities.
Currently residing in Dudley Port, the family are looking to head further south into Birmingham, as their needs are becoming greater as their travel is restricted.
Needing to be near a constant water source, a shop and to have easy access to hospital if necessary, the usually moving family are having to adjust to being in one place for a while.
Georgia, a key account manager originally from Hemel Hempstead said: “Life has definitely become more difficult since the coronavirus outbreak.
“We don’t have a main shop or a local one – we use google maps to get our bearings whenever we arrive somewhere new.
“We need to scout, but as public transport is now limited, we can’t be using it if we’re needing to social distance.
“Locals seem to have taken everything in panic but we don’t actually have a fridge or freezer thanks to broken batteries – so we can’t bulk buy.
“My daughter is only three – she still likes a drink of milk or fruit and we need to buy that daily, so it’s fresh.”
Buying supplies aren’t the troubles the family have faced unexpectedly – with Georgia’s dad living on a boat near them, he is high risk for Coronavirus – meaning he’s reliant on them and the social distancing measures.
Dan, an out-of-hours worker, said: “It seems the people living in the city are coming to the tow paths to escape the mass amounts of people.
“But that means you’ve now got people congregating and you’re reluctant to leave the boat – you don’t want to put yourself or anyone else at risk.
“If we were to need emergency care, it’s harder for them to get to us.
“So we’re hoping people will band together.
“We have a facebook page called The Liveaboard Family, where other boaters who might be in the same predicament or aren’t as fortunate as us can reach out.
“We want to be able to help, even if it’s just to make people feel less lonely, in any way we can.
“It can be isolating already – so if anyone wants to reach out, they can.”