Wednesday 22 April 2020
It’s hard to think of a single person whose life hasn’t been turned upside down by the coronavirus outbreak over recent weeks. Every institution is clearly feeling the impact too.
As a community-based organisation that plays a part in the lives of over 20,000 people across the East Midlands, we are deeply conscious of how it is affecting us, our customers, our workforce and the countless people we do business with. We are also very mindful that what we do at this time can have a big impact too. This is a big responsibility but also a privilege.
We have been working hard to keep customers, our staff and our many stakeholders up-to-date. But until relatively recently this has been a fast-changing situation and so we thought it was time to take stock and share with you some of the ways in which we have adapted to the outbreak and sought new ways to support our communities.
Some of the biggest changes we have made have been around service delivery. This has included:
- Reducing home repair visits by at least 80% - only dealing with true emergencies that put customers at risk if left unattended.
- Taking steps to reduce risk to customers and ourselves when we do make home visits through social distancing and the use of protective equipment.
- Moving all staff who can do so to home working – literally overnight. We were able to do this thanks to previous investment in the systems we need for remote working.
- Calling customers aged 70+ to make sure they are okay and delivering food parcels to those who are going short.
We have also strongly encouraged all our employees and customers to follow the latest government and health service advice for their own safety and that of the wider community. This has included regularly signposting official sources of information and help.
At a more personal level we have heard countless stories of our people going out of their way to help others. We are not alone in this we know, but we are deeply proud of having great people and a culture rooted in caring. Both have proved to be so valuable at this time of crisis. Some of our team members have identified people who are especially vulnerable and gone way above and beyond what we expect of them to provide an extra helping hand at this time of crisis. For some customers, simply a friendly voice at the end of the phone has helped to break the sense of isolation.
We may not always have got it right. Some of the changes have been challenging for us – and some for our customers. But all around we have seen signs of people being supportive and understanding and this has really helped us to focus on what matters.
Things may change again but we remain committed to doing all we can to stay true to our vision and to our customers.
Thank you to everyone concerned for pulling together at this difficult time.
Group Chief Executive