COLLEAGUES from leisure facilities have turned their hand to delivering PPE across West Lancashire during the coronavirus pandemic.
A team of 24 colleagues who work at local leisure facilities run by West Lancashire Community Leisure and its managing agent, Serco Leisure: Nye Bevan Swimming Pool, Beacon Park Golf Centre, Park Pool and Banks Leisure Centre and Burscough Racquet and Fitness Centre.
Since the lockdown started, they have volunteered for various projects including the delivery of vital medical supplies to people in need.
Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: “The staff from West Lancashire Community Leisure can be very proud of the way they have volunteered their time to help the Council to provide vulnerable people, who have to stay at home and cannot rely on family and friends, the support they need to stay at home."
Two of the volunteers are Ann Gibson and her husband John, who for over 20 years have worked at Burscough Racquet and Fitness Centre.
Ann Gibson said: “The first delivery we did was a little nerve-wracking. The person we took the medicine to was showing symptoms of the virus, and even though we were wearing all the provided PPE it was difficult not to be a little concerned. We’d been given excellent training on exactly what we needed to do, but I was still nervous.
“However, when you meet people, who may have been isolating for months, and they’re so grateful, so thankful that they haven’t been forgotten, it just makes you feel humbled. It makes you feel proud to be helping out in some way. They often want to have a chat, as they might not have spoken to someone for days. We obey the distancing guidelines, but I’m happy to chat when I can. They’re such lovely people.
“The system set up to manage the whole process is brilliant, so well organised and a credit to the Council and the pharmacies we’re working with.”
Ann and John are part of a team of volunteers, who wanted to do their bit during the coronavirus crisis. They’re joined by Sharon Thelwell who usually works at Nye Bevan Swimming Pool and her son Daniel, who works alongside Ann and John at Burscough.
Sharon Thelwell added: “I knew I wanted to help out, but as I don’t drive I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to volunteer to deliver medicines. Luckily, my husband Rod drives me to each address, so I’ve been able to help out in this small way. My son, Daniel is also delivering medical supplies as part of this team, so this has been a proper family effort for us.
“We’ve been well supported by WLCL and Serco Leisure throughout this process, and as Ann says the whole operation has been very well managed by the Council.”
WLCL’s contract manager, Mark Snaylam has overseen the running of this project and supported the setting up of a food hub at Burscough.
He said: “I’m proud of my team for the work they’ve done since the lockdown started. When we asked for volunteers, people quickly put their hands up, ready to help in any way they could in the fight against this virus.”
West Lancashire Community Leisure and South Ribble Community Leisure encourage inclusive opportunities in Sports and Leisure activities in their respective regions.