Luton Council staff step up to the plate

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Luton Council’s Chief Executive, Robin Porter is just one of the many council workers who in recent days have been refocusing their work priorities to ensure residents get the help they need.

Last Friday Robin was busy packing food, medication and supplies for distribution to some of the most vulnerable people in the town.

He was also on hand to receive and sort personal protection equipment (PPE) ready to be taken to front line care staff to ensure they are kept as safe as possible while they carry out their vital jobs of caring for Luton’s elderly and vulnerable.  

After he had completed his stint, Robin said, “I am absolutely inspired and in awe of our communities, council staff and volunteers and regional partners, all working around the clock to support our residents and key workers during these really difficult days.

“From start to finish everything I have seen and experienced today shouts out loud the commitment, kindness and cooperation of our workforce and others across the town. Once again Lutonians have shown that when a crisis hits the town we can pull together in a powerful and moving way. 

“Over 400 local people have signed up to volunteer in a variety of ways, which is quite remarkable. These volunteers are out, amongst other things, helping to deliver hot meals and food parcels, and collecting prescriptions. A massive, massive thank you to everyone, not least the whole council workforce, which I know has been working tirelessly since this emergency began.”

Many staff have been directly involved in supporting and helping members of the public. Of no less importance, however, are some of the teams that have worked tirelessly behind the scenes arranging schedules, logistics and delivery plans.

The council’s Procurement Team has been working round the clock to secure PPE equipment to meet shortfall from the welcomed deliveries from central government following our requests for items essential to the safety of those dealing with vulnerable individuals throughout the community.

They have been assisted in this task by those from Adult Social Care, which has worked with care homes to establish their individual needs and the Adult Learning Team staff based in the warehouse from which they have been involved in distributing the equipment to private and public care workers across the town.

A key part of the operation has been carried out by council staff in the Passenger Transport Unit. They have been delivering much of this equipment for use or ongoing distribution to over ten key locations throughout Luton.

In addition to supplies of hand gel, visors and waste bags they have passed on 4,250 face masks, 6,600 pairs of gloves and nearly 4,000 aprons – approximately 15,000 items in total – each one a small, but significant contribution as the town battles together against the effects of coronavirus.

A pivotal role in these circumstances has been that of the council’s Emergency Planning unit which has been central in coordinating the arrival of the PPE and food supplies from government.

Not only that, but the team has been working with regional partners to ensure everything arrives in the Luton warehouse for onward distribution. Not content to sit on its hands, the team has been going to supermarkets in order to fetch supplies for vulnerable households while waiting for the government deliveries.

Another important service has been provided by the council’s catering teams, which have not only continued to serve meals for children still attending school, but have also been preparing packed lunches for vulnerable children who have remained at home.

Many of the teams involved in the managing the current situation lie within the council’s Place and Infrastructure Directorate.

Laura Church, Corporate Director, commented: “Once again our own staff have demonstrated how dedicated they are to the wellbeing of the town’s residents. Whether as part of their ongoing jobs, or through going the extra mile as a volunteer, they have shown an unshakeable commitment “The council is doing all it can to respond to the current situation. Supporting the provision and distribution of food and PPE equipment is just one area of our focus. Throughout the council, teams are working hard ensuring the town keeps running during this challenging time.”