Northumbrian Water workers rally round to help their communities during lockdown
A team of colleagues have turned their attentions to helping their own communities by lending a hand to good causes during the lockdown.
A total of 167 Northumbrian Water workers volunteered to support their area during the coronavirus crisis by backing organisations including the NHS and St John's Ambulance.
The company runs a programme to match people with community needs, leading them to help in roles including delivering food to vulnerable people and talking on the phone with those who are socially isolated.
It allows staff who are unable to work from home or in a safe environment and who are not needed to be trained up as reserves for critical roles delivering essential water and wastewater services.
Lucy Kettleborough, operations support assistant, lives in an area where many people are aged over 70 and has signed up as a COVID-19 support volunteer, dropping off prescriptions and food parcels.
She said: "When making deliveries it has become clear that sometimes I am the first person they have seen or spoken to all day so stopping for chat through the window or from the end of the driveway has become a normal way of life and actually really lifts the spirits of all of us."
Sophie Carvin, Northumbrian Water's academy manager is co-ordinating the effort.
She said: "We have made it possible for as many employees as possible to do their normal jobs from home, and put measures in place so that those essential workers who do still have to leave the house can do so as safely as possible.
"However, there are some who are unable to fulfil their normal duties at this time, and some who have time freed up because of limitations on what they are able to do.
"We have moved many of our people into front line roles, such as running water or wastewater treatment works, often where they have prior experience, and more than 140 have undergone training to give them the skills to move into positions that are different from their day jobs.”
Any organisations that would like to be considered for support can contact Sophie via [email protected].