Search

How council staff have been redeployed to frontline roles in coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 17:28 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:28 09 April 2020

Crown Pools lifeguard Jack Mallett has joined the Ipswich Borough Council HEARS team during the coronavirus pandemic. PIcture: JACK MALLETT

Crown Pools lifeguard Jack Mallett has joined the Ipswich Borough Council HEARS team during the coronavirus pandemic. PIcture: JACK MALLETT

Jack Mallett

Staff at Suffolk’s councils who have been redeployed into frontline roles have been praised for their efforts in the coronavirus pandemic.

Gainsborough Sports Centre manager Jade Giddens has joined Ipswich Borough Council's emergency control centre during the coronavirus pandemic, and also delivered food parcels for FIND foodbank. Picture: JADE GIDDENSGainsborough Sports Centre manager Jade Giddens has joined Ipswich Borough Council's emergency control centre during the coronavirus pandemic, and also delivered food parcels for FIND foodbank. Picture: JADE GIDDENS

With council offices, gyms, pools and other services shut down as part of government lockdown measures, some staff have joined the efforts of frontline council services.

Jack Mallett normally spends his day keeping people safe as a lifeguard at Crown Pools in Ipswich, but happily dived into helping the council’s HEARS service – the 24-hour personal alarm response for older and vulnerable people to remain independent in their homes.

MORE: GPs urge public to get health issues checked despite coronavirus pandemic

It operates as a pendant alarm which people can trigger if they need assistance, such as a fall at home.

Following some training, the 22-year-old has been helping with response teams.

Staff at Ipswich Borough Council are among those who have bee redployed to frontline services during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStaff at Ipswich Borough Council are among those who have bee redployed to frontline services during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“They asked for volunteers and we got people to step up straight away,” he said.

“A lot of my first aid training is quite transferable, and it’s a nice change of pace.

“It’s a very rewarding role to be able to do. Some of these people are very isolated anyway, but with coronavirus that is not helping, so they are very grateful.

“A thank-you goes a long way.”

The team has been utilising PPE where needed in people’s homes, although Jack admitted that every home and every situation is different.

Another to make the switch was 23-year-old Jade Giddens.

Normally a manager at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich, Jade spent a week with Families in Need delivering food parcels to those struggling to make ends meet before joining the HEARS emergency control centre.

A couple of weeks of training resulted in her first shift manning the phones on Thursday night.

She said: “For me, I was happy to do whatever it took.

“The ops manager asked us to put down five service areas we were willing to go to and I chose the emergency control room.

“It’s so good to be involved – there’s so much pressure on the NHS and ambulance services so it is good to be involved and help respond to people in need.”

MORE: Follow the Suffolk Coronavirus Facebook page for latest updates

Both Jack and Jade admitted the roles are a change of pace to what they are used to, but have been entirely willing to do their bit in the fight to keep crucial services going.

They represent just two among scores of council workers across the county to step up to the mark and get involved in unfamiliar services.

With pleas for NHS volunteers, fruit pickers to work the fields and shoppers to help the vulnerable, both Jack and Jade are unanimous in their message to those who can help.

“Get stuck in – there are people that are going to need help.”

To stay up to date with the latest coronavirus updates in Suffolk sign up to the EADT newsletter here or bookmark the coronavirus topic page on the website here.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star