A group of grandmothers are using TikTok to encourage young people in their area to practise social distancing.
Margaret Hansard, 78, began what she calls a “nantervention” to spread the message that young people who do not follow the guidelines could be at risk of passing the coronavirus on to their grandparents.
In the video, posted on her granddaughter Lucy’s TikTok account, Mrs Hansard is seen performing actions to the song Supalonely by Benee, while captions read: “I’m staging a #Nantervention to get Hertfordshire’s grandkids to socialise safely… And protect your nans!
“I’ve been lonely! Please keep social distancing. Lockdown = lonely nans. Please keep washing your hands. And remember the rule of 6.”
Mrs Hansard, from Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, said the video was initially intended to spread awareness around her local area.
She told the PA news agency: “It’s just to make the kids or the youths who are going out aware of distancing and things like that really, and making sure they know they can carry the germs and bring them home to grandparents.
“We thought it might go in easier that way than being told ‘you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that’.”
Mrs Hansard’s video has since been replicated by other grandmothers in the area.
However, she said she is not a regular user of social media, and does not spend time on Facebook or Twitter.
“I’m not very good with that,” she said.
“I haven’t got time, I’m busy with other things.”
The mini-movement has now even got the backing of Hertfordshire’s public health board which is tasked with managing the Covid-19 response in the county.
Jim McManus, Hertfordshire’s director of public health, said: “We love that these nans are taking direct action, and having seen the popularity of the Nantervention movement on social media we were very happy to lend support to the cause.”
Despite images of young people attending parties and gathering in large groups appearing on the news, Mrs Hansard – who has four grandchildren – was clear that her video is not about judging those involved.
Instead, she said, it is aimed at making sure those who do go out and socialise do so safely.
“The youth, most of them are so lovely and they’re so helpful,” said Mrs Hansard, who volunteers with Age UK.
“If you were to fall over along the road I’m sure they’d run to pick you up.
“They’ve had a really hard time lately – since lockdown, they can’t go out, you can’t go out and socialise.
“It’s hard for them and I’d like people to appreciate that. Most of them are so good.
“With my four grandchildren, all I want in life is for them to be safe, and I’m sure every other grandmother would feel that way.”
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