From High-Rise Confinement to Beach House

Lockdown has been difficult for almost everyone, but particularly so for those stuck in small high-rise apartments. If that predicament includes small kids, and a single father, that makes everything even more challenging.

Sam Smith is a single father to a 3 year old and a 6 year old. Since lockdown began in England, the family has been largely confined to their one bed apartment on the 15th floor of a tower block in East London. It’s not a very big apartment and with local parks closed, sometimes Sam and the kids were stuck inside for 23 hours a day.


When the family went on the BBC Breakfast Show to talk about what it’s like to be confined in such an environment during the pandemic, a couple, Ken and Sheila Sims, were watching the interview from their home on the Devon coast.


Ken grew up in a high-rise apartment building, and felt especially saddened hearing about the difficulties the Smiths were experiencing. Happily, he knew just how to help. He could give the Smith family a break by asking them if they’d like to spend a week at his cottage by the English seaside. Of course, they said yes to Ken’s idea!


“I can’t find the words… ” Sam said at the beach on his family’s Devon holiday. Motioning at the sky and water all around him, at his young sons making sandcastles, he exclaimed, “It’s beautiful!”