LOCKDOWN left many people wondering what to do with all the spare time they how had.

Some have opted to use their new-found free time to pursue a passion or hobby, while others have launched their own small businesses from scratch.

Janie Elizabeth Luff, 61, from Colchester, for example, is usually kept busy due to her career as a hairdresser.

But, due to social distancing restrictions, cutting other people’s hair is no longer permitted, because the proximity required between stylist and client is too close.

The scissor specialist has instead been using her to downtime to combine her love of crochet, with her desire to volunteer and help others.

“I have always wanted to do something voluntary, but my hairdressing has always kept me too busy,” said Janie.

“I love to crochet, so I had an idea to make ear savers for the NHS’s staff, midwives, paramedics, and care workers because the masks make their ears sore.

“I have managed to do the two things combined, and it is so rewarding, and I am so pleased to have done something in a small way to help other people.”

Georgia Ingram, 21, has also been busy during the lockdown, having completed a course in nail treatment and trained to become a nail technician.

She has now started up her own business on social media, called Nails By Gee, and using her page to show-off her newly acquired skills.

Once the lockdown restrictions have been properly lifted, Georgia hopes to turn her quarantine hobby into a proper business, styling nails across the town.

“I definitely couldn’t have done all this if I was still working, as I work full time so I just wouldn’t have had the time,” she said.

“Also, having this time in lockdown has meant my family are also home, so I have had plenty of opportunities to practice while completing the course.

“Once the lockdown is over, I am hoping to properly kickstart the business.”

Lockdown has helped Kathleen Cunnea, 41, from Colchester, rediscover a former passion.

She is currently working at home, but she is also a qualified florist.

In her spare time, Kathleen has been re-exploring her love of floristry, creating bouquets of flowers to help people spread joy and send gifts to relatives and friends.

“I am a qualified florist, but currently do not work as one, but whilst working from home, I decided to fill some down time,” she said.

“I have revisited my floristry scissors and have been giving people a way of sending gifts to their loved ones - I have delivered over 50 bouquets in the last four weeks.

“I have to also thank Byfords & Sons wholesalers and Floralbox packaging for supplying me during this time.”

Musicians missing the adrenaline buzz of performing in a sweaty and crowded Colchester bar are also using the gaps in their calendars to do something positive.

Acoustic singer-songwriter Simon Baum, for example, has founded a social media page called Sofa Sessions Live on which gigs are streamed live.

As well as using the lockdown to reach a new fan-base himself, Simon has also been curating line-ups, with different acts performing on camera every single day.

The initiative is also being used as a platform from which Simon can fundraise.

The page has already amassed more than 4,000 followers, raising more than £4,500 for the Colchester Foodbank.

He said: “We have new acts each day and we have actually had someone perform every day since March 23.”