When someone asks you what you did to help during the Coronavirus pandemic, what will you say?
It was this question, along with proud memories of her gran that compelled Sellafield employee, Caroline Easdon, to answer Sellafield Ltd’s call for employees to volunteer support to our local communities.
During the Second World War my gran volunteered to be part of the land army. In years to come, when we look back on all of this and people ask me what did I do? I want to be able to say that I helped. And hopefully someone down the line will be proud that I stepped up in the same way that I am proud of my gran.
To do her bit, Caroline has volunteered to help at Cumbria County Council’s emergency call centre for vulnerable people.
Along with her fellow call centre volunteers, Caroline is connecting people who need help with the community hub that can best provide support.
Most of the people who I have spoken with at the call centre are ringing in because they are worried about how to get food and prescriptions. Others are concerned that they haven’t seen their neighbour for a while and want someone to go and check on them.
I take the details of those calls and feed them into the network of community hubs and local groups so that vulnerable people can get the help they need.
All the precautions that you would expect to see, like social distancing and welfare and handwashing facilities are in place, and from next week we should be able to man the call centre virtually from home.
If anyone is considering volunteering, go for it. Hearing someone tell you that they appreciate being able to talk to a real person about their concerns, and that you’ve helped, is really rewarding.
Caroline works as part of the Corporate Affairs team at Sellafield which is headed up by Jamie Reed. He said:
Like all our volunteers, Caroline is heeding the call from our community and doing her bit. As an individual she’s doing what she can to make a difference in the situation we all find ourselves in. I’m proud of her response and that of everyone else who has been able to step forward and answer the call in their own way. Right now, volunteering is making a real difference in helping our community meet this unprecedented challenge.
Stephen Hall, assistant director of economy and environment at Cumbria County Council, said:
We can’t thank the staff from Sellafield enough. The helpline is supporting around 200 people each day now. It’s not just the material support with food and medication that we can provide that is important but also the reassurance vulnerable residents feel by being able to speak to a caring and sensitive member of the team.
We are incredibly grateful to them for volunteering their time, it has been invaluable and has made all the difference to those people in the community who need our help and support at this difficult time.
Sellafield Ltd has confirmed this week that any employee who isn’t a key worker can volunteer to support their local community during work time.