Blackwood boss pays tribute to hero staff effort during ‘Beast from the East’

Fanchea Kelly

The chief executive of Blackwood has paid tribute to staff who went ‘the extra mile’ to ensure that vital services continued during the ‘Beast from the East’.

Fanchea Kelly was so amazed by stories of housing and care staff dedication during the recent weather emergency that she took the time to send a letter thanking them for their heroic efforts.

Care workers braved blizzards, shovelled snow and dodged drifts to ensure that customers were safe and sound during the red weather warning which brought large parts of the country to a standstill.

Fanchea said: “Every team across the country went the extra mile during our visit from ‘The Beast from the East’.

“So many stories came in of how the Blackwood team went all out to ensure our customers were safe and well looked after.

“One resident called me personally to praise her care staff for putting their own circumstances aside to stay late and help cover shifts, and staff were even spotted putting out the rubbish, so tenants didn’t have to brace the snowy weather.

“In some cases staff corralled their friends and relatives to shovel snow, and slept over in our care homes and developments to help cover shifts for colleagues who were snow bound.

“Others cooked meals, answered the phones and communicated with all their housing and care customers personally to make sure we knew that people were safe and warm.”

Fanchea said the whole experience demonstrated just how resilient Blackwood’s emergency plans were and gave the organisation a clear idea of any extra measures that should be put in place for any future situation.

She added: “It was a truly heroic effort in many cases, and what really struck me was the commitment and initiative everyone showed within their teams.

“The recent storm presented a potentially dangerous situation for residents at Blackwood, so we’re pleased to see how well our emergency plans worked.

“The weather also served as an important opportunity to receive valuable feedback from everyone affected about how we can improve in future.”