Louise Minchin on finding new ways to connect with people

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:26 06 October 2020

Louise Minchin

Louise Minchin

Archant

‘While technology doesn’t replace the hugs, thankfully we can still connect and support each other in ways I never could have imagined’

The last time I travelled to London was way back at the beginning of March in those halcyon, pre-corona carefree days. Remember them? I was recording the first in a new series of podcasts for Her Spirit, with my great friend, the former world duathlon champion, Annie Emmerson.

We were giddy with excitement about our new adventure, greeted each other with exuberant hugs, and then sat side by side, snuggled up next to each other in a tiny studio in the heart of Soho to interview our first guest, and talk about our joint belief in the power of sport and exercise to make you feel better.

Forward wind a mere 10 days and the UK went into lockdown. As we live more than 200 
miles away from each other, 
I assumed our idea of a monthly podcast together was over. I was gutted: how could we possibly do it if we couldn’t be in the same place?

Seven months on, we all know, of course, we can do dozens of things we thought impossible – by using the power of technology and the internet.

Louise and fellow Her Spirit podcaste rAnnie Emmerson have kept up a virtual friendship during lockdownLouise and fellow Her Spirit podcaste rAnnie Emmerson have kept up a virtual friendship during lockdown

I am not sure I had heard of Zoom before our brilliant producer suggested we might be able to record from our own homes, so our first podcast felt like a slightly scary experiment. I sat in my kitchen, with the dogs on the sofa beside me, while Annie found refuge from her children by recording from the top of her stairs, and our first guest, the wonderful Dr Zoe Williams, joined us from the garden of her new house. As soon as I saw their smiling faces, I knew that even if we occasionally spoke over each other (and we still do), it was at least going to be fun.

Since then, we have recorded more than 20 podcasts and have had more than 75,000 downloads (10,000 was my measure of success), and from the messages we have received I know that our wittering and our brilliant guests – the likes of Dame Kelly Holmes, Helen Skelton and Julia Bradbury – have cheered up lots of people and kept them company in strange times.

My weekly chats with Annie have been almost like a form or therapy for me – a chance to catch up and have what feels like a real chat with a friend I couldn’t otherwise see.

While technology doesn’t replace the hugs, thankfully we can still connect and support each other in ways I never could have imagined.

The Her Spirit podcasts by Louise and Annie Emmerson are interviews with phenomenal women in the world of sport and business, talking about the desires, vulnerabilities and spirited ways and are supported by Sport England and Medicheck.

herspirit.co.uk

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