In the first of a new series, we hear the stories of people on different sides of isolation in the midst of the Coronavirus.
OnHand is an app set up not long ago. Its purpose was to match older adults who needed help with verified volunteers in their local area. A way find someone to fetch the shopping, walk the dog or just come round for a chat.
Then in March 2020, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, everything changed. OnHand went from a source of help to a lifeline for vulnerable people. This episode follows its CEO Sanjay as he and his team adjust to taking on this challenge.
Two users of OnHand offer different perspectives on our new world, from either side of isolation. Annie is 73 year old woman now required to isolate at all times and Nathan is a young volunteer in London looking to help those in need.
Produced by Sam Peach
Help for the Helpline
In Autumn last year AMIS, an organisation and helpline for Abused Men in Scotland based in Edinburgh, faced the prospect of closure. In spite of being busier than it had ever been in almost a decade of operation, a crucial element of their funding had been cut. It left them unable to pay for the office, phones and staff required to keep even the most basic Helpline service available.
In the run up to Christmas Producer Joel Cox follows Iris, Alison and Elizabeth as they face the crisis while knowing that the service they provide is vital and not being covered by any other organisation in Scotland. Will crowd funding, grant applications and a raffle be enough to keep the lines open, and what does it mean to the women who strive to keep this unfashionable branch of victim abuse support running.
Producers: Joel Cox and Tom Alban
Game Over in Dover?
Grace Dent follows the story - through the autumn - of the owner of a family business at the crossroads over Brexit uncertainty. For John Shirley the stakes are high: he's put his house up for sale because he believes leaving the EU Customs Union will ruin his Dover based freight agency company.
We follow the Shirley's - who have different views about leaving the EU - through Brexit deadlines and the General Election as John works out what to do.
Producer Neil McCarthy
Four Months for Niyi
Niyi's eating disorder has stopped him coming home for Christmas. This year, after nearly losing his mother to a brain tumour, he wants to change that.
Niyi is a young, successful Cambridge student with a bright future ahead of him. But for the past few years, he has struggled with an eating disorder. It has made him very conscious of eating with others and the pressure of being around the family dinner table at Christmas has been too much. So he stayed away.
But this year is different. When his mother was taken to hospital with a brain tumour she nearly lost her life. Niyi was there for her when she was ill and he knows how much it would mean to her for him to make it home. He's starting a new course of therapy to help him work through his eating issues, it might give him the help he needs.
Amidst it all Niyi is trying to keep up with the rest of his life. He's deciding the next step in his academic career and attempting to negotiate the dating scene.
Produced by Sam Peach
The Alabama 3 singer and co-founder Jake Black died in May: as the next tour date draws near band members must decide whether they can continue without him and how they mark his absence on stage.
The decisions on a way forward started within days of Jake's unexpected death and whilst his body was still in the mortuary - moulds were taken of his face and hands in the hope that a death mask might help recreate his presence on stage.
In addition of the death mask, sound experts have painstakingly resurrected early out takes of Jake - otherwise known as the Very Reverend D Wayne Love. As preparations gather for the new tour, the forgotten tapes of the talented singer are a constant reminder of his huge talent.
The mask is made from the moulds taken by band member Nick Reynolds. He’s the son of Bruce, the great train robber and as well as playing harmonica he’s also a sculptor specialising in death masks. He's convinced that immortalising him in this way will be cathartic for all of them:
During the grieving process band members travel to a huge Sopranos Convention in New Jersey, with thousands of fans eager to meet the musicians behind the Sopranos theme tune, 'Woke up this Morning.' It is a bitter sweet experience for Rob Spragg, otherwise known as Larry Love, who formed Alabama 3 with Jake in 1996:
"Jake was larger than life, a real fusion of what we stood for and being in America without him is very hard." Rob has made big changes in his own life following Jake's death, largely giving up drugs and alcohol: "It's so hard - he should be here with us and hearing him during rehearsals and performances is bringing so many tears."
Produced by Sue Mitchell