Lockdown Legends: How our employees are helping others during furlough

The country thankfully is slowly moving back to normal, and the construction sector is leading the way in getting back to work, creating the new working conditions needed to keep the workforce safe. The last few months have been a very strange time though, that’s for certain!

During lockdown, millions of Britain’s workforce has been furloughed, and Hambleside Danelaw employees have been no exception. Everyone has taken to this enforced break differently. Some have started a new hobby; some are home schooling; some got more (or less) fit; some have watched far too many boxsets, and many have gone out of their way to use their time to help their community. The one positive thing in the pandemic, is that there are so many great stories about how people have helped each other– who can forget Captain Tom’s heroic efforts? However, we can’t all be Captain Tom – the key thing is that even the smallest acts of kindness have gone an awful long way!

Here are just a few stories for our own employees that explain how they have done their bit to make a difference in a many different ways:

Designing and making PPE: John Godley

Rugby School have received many generous donations of materials from a range of sources to fabricate face visors for the local healthcare community.

The visors started out as a 3D printed headband design. Unfortunately, they were slow to produce and some of the users said they were uncomfortable to wear. The problem was solved by everyone getting their heads together, and a new design was produced that used a simpler laser cut design.

The solution was creating ready to build kits of 100 units. They were very successful, and are still being produced for volunteers to assemble and distribute to the local St Cross Hospital, Myton Day Hospice and various Healthcare Centres and Care Homes. John has been actively engaged in the School’s Design and Technology Centre producing the components for the kits, assembling the kits and helping with deliveries.

The hospital and healthcare centres demands were initially high, but quite short lived. However, supplies are still being delivered free of charge to the Hospice and local Care Homes who need it urgently. To date, the huge number of over 5000 visors have been distributed.

Digging for Victory! Paul Lambert

Paul is throwing himself into the task of keeping the gardens in his area ship-shape during the lockdown. He has been working on three pensioner’s gardens in the area because they can’t get out. It’s important because the garden’s mean a lot to them, and he’s making sure that they are in good condition for them to enjoy when they are eventually in a position to work on them themselves. Paul’s green fingers don’t stop there though.

His next-door neighbour has a double plot garden that is an allotment. Since his wife died 5 or so years ago, he has let it overgrow and lost the enthusiasm to do it. We cleared the lot. Dug it over and put loads of different veg in. He is now in the plot every day tending it. Not bad for an 88 year old. Plus, Paul is a winner as well. He gets loads of tasty fresh veg all year round. Finally, and probably the most surprisingly, it gave his 17 year old something to do. He grumbled like mad to start, but then told Paul he actually enjoyed it – now that’s a really positive effect – motivating a teenager in lockdown!

Every little helps! Ann Leeson

Ann has been doing many things to help people in her community during the lockdown. She has continually been food shopping for vulnerable people in the area, as well as her own elderly neighbours. Ann can honestly say that she never wants to stand in another supermarket queue ever again! She couldn’t do all the shopping in one supermarket as everyone has their own preferences, so Ann had to suffer waiting in multiple queues! Not content with that, she has also been cooking them the meals that are vital to keep them healthy, and providing lifts to doctor’s appointments when needed. All of these simple things are absolutely crucial during this strange time because most of the normal support services have been put on hold.

Ann has also helped friends who work in the NHS by entertaining and helping their children with their homework on Facetime. Last but not least, she has collected clothes and old camping gear from other people as well as her own and dropped them off at a homeless centre to try and support homeless people who have been suffering even more than usual at this time. I think we can safely say that Ann has been very busy during lockdown!

Volunteering for Clevedon Aid: Richard Spreag

As well as the usual decorating, gardening and getting fit on his pushbike, Richard has also been using his time very positively to help his community. Since the lockdown started, he has been volunteering for Clevedon Aid. They are a not-for-profit organisation who are providing support to all types of people whose lives are being significantly affected by the pandemic.

Richard has been busy delivering meals to vulnerable residents once a week, PPE to Care Homes, prescription runs and shopping deliveries. It’s not every day, but as and when needed to make sure that nobody misses out on what they need during these tough times.

I’m sure you’ve all got your own stories of how you have helped someone or know someone who has. If there is one positive thing to come out of the crisis, it is the amount of people who have helped others in their community, and that’s hopefully something that will continue after the crisis.