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People On This British Road Are Really Committed To Staying Fit During The Coronavirus Outbreak

"Socially distant dancing happens every day on our road at 11am during lockdown"

On a quiet road in Frodsham, Cheshire, a community of neighbours have come together for a daily workout best described as "socially distant dancing", and it's proof that this current lockdown doesn't have to be entirely isolating.

Elsa Williams

The community get-together is run by fitness instructor and resident Janet Woodcock, who has been leading her neighbours in a 10-minute workout encouraging them to get their bodies moving with an upbeat soundtrack.

Elsa Williams

The 54-year-old told BuzzFeed News how the 11am dance breaks had evolved after originally starting off as a moment of silence.

She explained: "I'd put a flyer through the postboxes of people at about half 10, it was all very last minute, just sort of asking, how do people feel about coming out at 11 o'clock and just having like a minute of silence, sending wishes to all the people who are struggling, followed by a minute's clapping for all the key workers — so that's what we did on day one."

The community came together the following day, but this time it was to wish a resident happy birthday. "Day two, it was our neighbour's son's birthday so we all sang to him," she said.

The campaign got physical after a chat with an elderly neighbour who was not impressed by the brief television workouts on offer and who encouraged Janet to take the lead given her 16 years' experience as a fitness instructor.

Elsa Williams

Janet said: "I sort of agreed, thinking it would be her and maybe one other, so I got the music out and people just really warmed to it. I think people are just so desperate really for something to uplift them a bit. Have a bit of fun, a bit of light release and people just joined in and we had such a good time, and then someone asked if we would do it again the day after."

A video posted by Janet's daughter Elsa showing the seventh day of their 11am workout to some classic Tom Jones has amassed more than 3 million views and nearly 30,000 retweets — and you can really feel the community spirit.

Socially distant dancing happens every day on our road at 11am during #lockdown. This was day seven. #Covid19 #StayHomeSaveLives

The dance breaks have transformed their typically quiet road, with entire families making their way to their driveways to participate and shake a leg to everything from The Beatles to Tom Jones.

Elsa Williams

"It's the one time that they come out of their houses and see people, and the fact that we're having fun while we're doing that is great. And it's a great way of checking in with people — if there is anybody not there, it's going to be noticed," said Janet.

Responding to critics online who feel that the gathering is in breach of the current lockdown and call for people to socially distance themselves, Janet said: "The people on the street are easily keeping the distance because our houses are reasonably spaced apart and everybody just stays in front of their drive.

"The people you see close together are from the same family. I just stand in the middle so that people can see what I'm doing."

Like most people, Janet is taking the lockdown "one day at a time", but feels a growing responsibility to continue supporting her neighbours for as long as necessary.


She said: "I guess we're just taking it one day at a time. Nobody knows what the next set of guidelines will be and how it will impact us, but I think it's probably safe to say that most of the older people on this road will be in isolation for probably up to 12 weeks, and I'd like to offer them something along the same lines for the duration of that."

The community coming together has inspired people.

@elsalwilliams This is the loveliest thing. You guys are brilliant ❤️

@elsalwilliams Made me a bit tearful (in a happy way!) Thanks for sharing 🥰

And also reminded people of how impactful a strong community can be.

@elsalwilliams There was a time when we knew all our neighbors by name when I was growing up. Today, my neighbors call me and check up on me since I'm alone, just the ones that know me. At 67, I never in my life thought I'd be witnessing the resurgence of love. Thank you!

@elsalwilliams Love it & well done, especially the part about the street not knowing one another previously. A bit of sunshine amidst the gloom & a positive legacy from covid19❤

And some people are considering trading postcodes for the chance to be part of it.

@elsalwilliams @sharm33n I want to live on this road!

@elsalwilliams Any houses for sale? I'm moving here 😂

Ade Onibada is a junior reporter at BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Ade Onibada at ade.onibada@buzzfeed.com.

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