‘Really impressive’ staff swap everyday jobs for pandemic response roles
PUBLISHED: 12:11 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:14 08 April 2020
Council staff have traded their nine-to-five jobs to help community volunteers respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
North Norfolk District Council workers are staffing 10 co-ordination centres - which are not open to the public - set up to support residents including older and vulnerable people who have been asked to self-isolate.
For many, including the council’s arboriculture landscape officer Simon Case, this has meant quite a change of pace from normal work.
Mr Case said: “I mainly deal with looking after the trees in the district, but at the moment I’m running the Briston local community hub and assisting the volunteers in the community.
“Everybody involved from the council has been amazed at how good the community is, because we’ve come in and there’s so many groups set up already, it has just been our job to assist them and make sure that they can deliver what they want to deliver.
“I think after all this has stopped I think the amount of community spirit within North Norfolk will put us in a really good place.”
Richard Crabb, the council’s senior environmental contracts officer, has been re-deployed to the co-ordination centre in Hoveton.
Mr Crabb said: “We act as a base to co-ordinate local volunteers and support groups, the delivery of food parcels, prescriptions and any kind of help that people are crying out for.
“We’re also putting drivers on the roads to deliver food and goods.
“Over the last week since we’ve been opened I’ve formed some really good relationships with local volunteer groups throughout the nine parishes that come under the responsibility of this hub.”
Councillor Richard Kershaw, the authority’s portfolio holder for economic and career development, said the speed at which the council staff had adapted to their new roles was “really impressive”.
He said: “They’ve changed jobs, they’ve come to the front line.
“They’ve been absolutely first rate supporting businesses and the public, organising volunteers, getting food out to people, looking out for vulnerable families, I couldn’t praise them highly enough.”
Anyone in need of help can call the council on 01263 516000 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, or Norfolk County Council’s helpline 0344 800 8020 on weekends 10am-4pm.
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