BBC News Your Coronavirus Stories

Top Stories

Get in touch with us

Life in lockdown


Latest Updates

'I spent 20 years building my business and it's all come crashing down'

Jill Molyneux (kneeling) with cast from a show she designed costumes for
Jill Molyneux (kneeling) is devastated her theatre work has dried up and there is currently no need for her costumes and props

Today marks six months since the UK was placed into a national lockdown.

In this period we have seen household names disappear from the high streets and thousands lose their jobs.

Jill Molyneux, 43, from Bristol, has been in the theatrical costumes business since qualifying from Central School of Music and Drama in 1998.

But lockdown and travel restrictions have torn a big hole in her company Jagprops, especially as major clients like theatres and travel companies are no longer booking her as they struggle to stay afloat themselves.

A typical year would see her supplying props, puppets, sets and costumes to celebrity cruises, shows at the Bristol Old Vic or the National and programmes for Now TV and the BBC, but the work has dried up and shows no sign of recovering soon.

As a limited company she has not been able to avail of government support and has had to take out a loan.

Monster mask

She said: "I've spent 20 years building this business only for it all to come crashing down in a few months - it's quite a shock.

"Over the summer I was trying to stay afloat with little projects but now I am really starting to panic."

Jill Molyneux with one of her costumes
Girls in nativity costumes
Bobble Costumes
Jill's daughters Elsie and Betty-May model her nativity range

Lockdown has forced Jill to be resourceful and she has now branched out into Bobble Costumes, making Covid-themed toys, festival capes and face masks.

She also hopes a sideline in renting nativity costumes and filming Christmas shows for schools as parents will not be allowed to attend could prove lucrative.

She said: "It's a stark and scary picture but I will do what I can to survive,"

Lockdown: The first six months

Lockdown: The first six months
As the UK introduces tighter Covid restrictions, we look back at the six months since lockdown was first announced.

Newsbeat followed young people from the moment life changed back in March.

Haamed is a junior doctor dealing with the sharp end of the medical impact of Coronavirus and the tragic consequences. But he's also navigating planning his wedding.

Kathryn is also on the wards as a nurse. She's Australian... does she try and get home quickly or stick it out helping here?

Jade's another key worker - trying to keep the supermarket shelves stocked with food as shortages soon kick in.

And teaching assistant Phoebe decides to move in with her boyfriend's family while worrying about her vulnerable grandparents who are at the other end of the country.