We are all in the same storm. But we are not all in the same boat.
You may be familiar with this new take on a once well-known phrase, which sums up the pandemic for many.
As we approach one year since we were plunged into the unknown, each individual experience is different.
From those who found lockdown gave them more time with their family, to people who faced crippling loneliness, we have all sat white-knuckled in different vessels through uncharted waters.
For the thousands of people who have learning disabilities, Covid has been completely unfathomable.
Social groups, often run by charities, have come to an abrupt stop, and vital respite has not been available for carers.
For one Highland-based social enterprise, lockdown has seen an amazing project halted.
But staff at Caberfeidh Horizons in Kingussie have no doubt that they will come together again, for something as wonderful as The Wildlife Wombles won’t stay down for long.
The initiative saw people with learning difficulties and mental-health problems lend a helping hand at the Highland Wildlife Park, alongside other outreach projects.
From cleaning enclosures to helping out at feeding time, the Wildlife Wombles have been wombling for seven years.
What started off as a fun outing on a Friday morning soon snowballed, and staff at the Highland Wildlife Park came to rely on the eager volunteers arriving each week.
And although the animals now only have their keepers for company, Carolyn Cornfield, who is project manager at Caberfeidh Horizons, is hopeful that the team will soon be together again.
“I think learning disabilities are rather topical at the moment, following the documentary about Katie Price and her son, Harvey,” said Carolyn.
“There are services available for a child with learning disabilities. But once you turn 18, the support stops.
“That’s why Caberfeidh Horizons was set up by carers, and parents of people who were effectively locked away in day centres.
“There was nothing else available, and they wanted something more.
“So a bookshop was set up, to enable people with learning disabilities to come out into the community.
“That was in 2004; fast forward 17 years and here we are.
“We help people to play a valued role, so they aren’t sat in day centres making raffia baskets.”
The success of Caberfeidh Horizons is partly down to its work-experience programme.
Alongside the wildlife park, the team has also planted trees on a Dalwhinnie estate and has even been approached to replant the gardens at Dalwhinnie Distillery.
They could never have anticipated just how involved they would become at the wildlife park in particular.
“We were all sat around trying to decide on a name for the group,” said Carolyn.
“There was a lovely guy called Donald Grant, who is sadly no longer with us.
“He had Down’s Syndrome and was in his late 40s and wasn’t known for talking much.
“Donald was sitting at the back and he suddenly shouted out ‘wombles’.
“So we became The Wildlife Wombles, and we even got our own uniform.
“The group does all sorts of jobs, and we were once very lucky to be taken around the back of the tiger enclosure.
“We got to feed them frozen salmon and the Wombles were just in awe.”
The hard-working team also got to witness Hamish the polar bear as a newborn, and helped make an insect hotel.
“We used to go on a Friday morning and start the session with a bacon sandwich,” said Carolyn.
“As word got out, we started going on a Monday as well.
“It gives everyone a sense of belonging and an insight into animals, it opened our eyes to nature.
“I consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world to be able to go, and the Wombles soon got this feeling that they were part of the park.”
Many people with learning disabilities have been forced to stay at home during the pandemic, and were six times more likely to die from the virus during the first wave of Covid.
Although Caberfeidh Horizons keeps in constant contact with everyone, Carolyn believes it has been extremely challenging.
“Lockdown has been absolutely awful, because every family is trying to survive,” she said.
“I think we have a long way to go as a nation, in terms of our attitude towards those with learning disabilities.
“There’s limited opportunity and limited employment.
“Before I did this job, I was involved with training high achievers.
“I’ve since learned that success isn’t measured in whether you’ve done a course.
“You can actually help people to get out of bed every day, to be part of something.
“I am incredibly proud of The Wildlife Wombles, they’ve honestly given me moments when I thought my heart was going to explode.”
For more information, visit www.caberfeidhhorizons.com