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Community Facilities embrace diverse remit during Covid-19 pandemic

Community Facilities management and staff have fully embraced the challenge to support other services and sectors during the pandemic.

This opportunity has led to the development of new partnerships and stronger relationships with other Council services and third sector partners.

The team have stepped in to develop and facilitate the distribution of PPE to education networks and Transport Services contractors as well as undertaking a critical role to help facilitate the vaccination centres, mobile test centres and asymptomatic test centres. Further support has been provided to the NHS with multiple Community Facilities staff members being redeployed to the Test and Protect Scheme.

Sharon Fleming, Community Facilities, was seconded to the Test and Protect service. She said: “My new work setting was often fast paced and challenging – I quickly had to learn lots of new things such as Public Health, Health and Social Care settings, new systems, new terminology and outbreak management to name a few!

“There were adjustments and improvements to the system to deal with as well as daily updates and changes sent from Public Health and the Scottish Government.

“My experience working within Community Facilities and within a Community Hub certainly helped in this much needed role with Test and Protect. I’m glad that was able to put my skills to good use and support our NHS during this challenging time.”

Venue Assistants also supported the Facilities Management Team in janitorial and cleaning roles across a range of sites.

As well as this work, several members of staff have been at the forefront of the Food Systems network supporting the North Ayrshire Food Bank and latterly responding to requests for emergency parcels and distributing vital supplies to households in need.

Others continued to operate critical activities which required the team to provide support to voluntary partners developing restart plans and implementing appropriate Covid-19 safety measures, guidance and regular safety audits.

Donna Morrison, Community Facilities manager, said: “The team have always adapted well to changing situations, at the early onset the staff embraced new roles and responsibilities. From day one we had teams working at the North Ayrshire Foodbank and we had staff supporting the Locality Hubs.

“A number of our community halls and centres were closed so we had resources that could be put to good use – the staff were able and willing therefore it was important we played our part.

“I am incredibly proud of how the staff stepped up and put themselves at the forefront to support our communities in need. There was no concern about status, structures or even service, it was simply about what needs to be done, let’s do it and do it incredibly well.

“I want to thank each and every member of staff within the team who played their part and stepped out of their comfort zone and for the support and ongoing commitment. Preparations are underway to welcome lets back in a gradual and phased approach – restrictions permitting.

“Our Restart Toolkit which has been developed will support the Community Facilities recovery and restart programme. However, meantime we will continue to work with our partners and fellow colleagues to deliver on the current priorities.

“We fully understand we must not be complacent, the safety and wellbeing of our young people, teachers and staff is our main priority. Together we must continue to focus on keeping virus transmissions levels low.”

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