Council employees changing roles to help communities

Employees from across East Ayrshire Council have been volunteering to change roles over the last few weeks to give help to those who need it most in our communities.

One of these volunteers is Ayrshire Roads Alliance’s Assistant Depot Manager Robert McSeveney. Robert’s daily work normally involves him planning and supervising the daily duties of 40 employees as well as organising the vehicles that they use to carry out work such as drainage, pothole patching and winter gritting. Robert also helps out with any day to day emergencies such as road traffic accidents or flooding in communities. After Council employees had to start working from home at the end of March, Robert decided to temporarily change role and is now delivering free school meals in and around the Galston and Newmilns area. Robert said: “I’m glad to be able to get the meals out to people who really need them at the moment. It’s a difficult time for everyone, so I’m happy to do anything I can to make people’s lives a little bit easier.”

James McCarthy is another employee who is doing something a bit different during the current crisis. As a parking attendant, James is used to being involved in traffic management and making sure vehicles aren’t parked dangerously, as well as helping members of the public with advice and directions. Now, he is making up food parcels and delivering these to people’s doors. James said: “My new role gives me a great feeling of satisfaction as I get to help those who need it most just now. A lot of people are really struggling and I’m just pleased to be able to help out wherever I can.”

Over 40 other Ayrshire Roads Alliance employees, from electricians to technicians, are also delivering meals to vulnerable people, and some are also supporting the Waste Management service by carrying out essential refuse collection.

Administration staff from Education are working as part of the wider Vibrant Communities team carrying out ‘check-in’ calls to vulnerable older people in the community who are currently shielding and have no outside contact.

To help the Facilities and Property Management service, education and transition teams filled and delivered 1400 boxes of food supplies for vulnerable families over the Easter weekend, and they’re now working on packing and delivering food boxes to those who are shielding, as well as organising food for community pantries.

Meanwhile staff from Human Resources have been working as part of the Customer Contact Centre dealing with a wide range enquiries from the public every day.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council, said: “My thanks go to the hundreds of Council employees who have volunteered to change roles and take on alternative work to provide cover and help keep essential services running and our communities safe.

“It’s important that we keep our staff safe at this time too and we are working hard to make sure this happens. We’re very proud of the way so many of our employees have stepped up and taken on a new challenge and we know from feedback we’ve received that our communities are seeing the real benefit of their efforts.”

If you need help from a volunteer due to shielding or self-isolation, call the Council on 01563 554400 or visit https://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/CouncilAndGovernment/Coronavirus/Community-support.aspx