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Charity worker in lockdown 5

Swan in Roker park

Published on 11 June 2020 04:28 PM

Paddle like crazy

My name is Lynn and normally you’d will find me as part of the fixtures and fittings on reception at the Bradbury Centre, our North Shields headquarters.

As a Customer Service Coordinator for the charity, it is a busy, varied role that I love. I am so fortunate, I am part of a great Customer Services Team. I have the best of both worlds, meeting and greeting folk, having a natter, booking appointments and giving out general information about our services is one half. That’s the front facing element of my job.

The second half is a back office role, carrying out administration duties, completing tasks within the charity to try and make each day run smoothly, not only for me but my fellow colleagues and of course customers. This can be anything from organising contractors to come out and complete repairs, doing weekly health and safety checks, arranging the servicing of equipment, or ordering stationery and equipment for the Group.

Since March however, life changed for all of us and for me, my role within the organisation has been carried out from my kitchen at home. Lockdown has been a bit of a rollercoaster, hasn’t it? I for one had the same feeling as most folk, a fear of the unknown.

Through the early stages of lockdown, I am proud that as part of the Customer Service Team, we were able to provide telephone, e mail and website enquiry support to our customers seven days of the week. All from a laptop and my mobile phone in my kitchen. Fancy that!

It’s so different for me who normally see folks face to face. It was quite a journey, initially, making sure we had all the facts and changing information available to support our wonderful customers, knowing what was available and how they could access it.

It was quite a challenge learning all about what was going on not only within our organisation but also others located in the area who could help provide support and advice to our most vulnerable customers.

I am not embarrassed to say, I did shed tears of sadness with some of the calls that I took provisionally because of the COVID 19 situation. Some calls were tough listening. Thankfully those callers did get in touch so we were able to help in some way.

I personally had a bereavement too through lockdown. Working from home though did not make a difference to folks being supportive and being there for me when I needed it – thank you.

Having time out too each day (allocated exercise) for a walk in my local park has helped enormously. Watching the swans and the ducks in the boating lake. Looking graceful and serene but underneath, anxious and paddling like crazy – a bit like me in lockdown!

We also received calls, which gave us many a laugh, from customers seeing the brighter side of things. Triumph in adversity, the general public never cease to amaze me.

I personally will never get over the number of people that contacted us offering their help and sharing kindness; donating their time and skills to help not only us but more importantly their community. From making ear protectors to helping with delivering food parcels. Just wonderful.

Home working from my kitchen is still allowing me to do a lot of the back office part of my role. I have plenty that’s keeping me busy, ordering equipment and Covid 19 essentials for the staff, keeping in touch with contractors from our Contractors Database, updating our assets, organising repairs, and contacting suppliers, these are some of the day to day things that I am still able to do.

Never ever in my working life would I have thought that I would be researching ‘Sneeze Screens’ but there is a first time for everything! Like those Swans in my local park, I will remain calm and serene…...and paddle like crazy!