Paul Bowen, Streetscene Operative, at Stafford Borough Council has been recognised as part of West Midlands Employers (WME) #EverydayHeroes campaign, having been nominated for his commitment and strong work ethic.
He has been out on his own on the frontline every day cleaning streets, parks, the crematorium and looking after the bowling green.
Paul is currently seconded to pest control dealing with everything from bedbugs and cockroaches to wasps and mice. He recently helped a lady, who is partially blind, who had a rat infestation – she didn’t realise the food she was feeding the birds was attracting the rats.
He also spends the weekend on street cleaning duty in the town of Stone as well as in the parks. Paul says, “It was especially bad, just before the pubs could re-open and in the spell of warm weather, with large groups of people gathering in parks to drink instead. This resulted in lots of extra litter and broken glass in the parks and on football pitches, which took hours to clean up.”
After his normal working hours Paul has been spending the evenings raking out ashes at the crematorium, which has been busier due to the additional Covid-19 deaths – this meant he often didn’t finish work until 9pm.
Whilst it has been incredibly busy time there have been some positives – residents have been stopping Paul to say thank you for his work. When asked whether he would encourage others to work in the council sector he said, “Absolutely. As long as people are prepared for change. This isn’t a job for life anymore, you get out of it what you put in.”
Paul has been praised for his commitment and work ethic.
Tim Clegg, Chief Executive at Stafford Borough Council, says, “I’m immensely proud of all our colleagues in Neighbourhood Services who have been on the frontline throughout this pandemic delivering essential services to the community – but Paul has gone above and beyond and is a very deserving nomination.”
Phil Gammon, Neighbourhood Services Group Manager, says, “Paul has not turned his back on any request to support us and the community by carrying out a wide range of activities. Paul has used his training to provide pest control services to the vulnerable, volunteered to undertake additional training and worked at the Crematorium to support colleagues in Bereavement Services. He has also volunteered to support colleagues in street cleansing dealing with an increase in littering and of course, he has been tending to the fine turf which under normal circumstances he does most of the year.
“These duties have not just been carried out during normal working hours, Paul has been out early mornings, evenings and weekends – nothing has been too much trouble for him. For Paul’s unerring willingness to support the service and the community he is a worthy West Midlands Everyday Hero.”
Rebecca Davis, Chief Executive of West Midlands Employers says, “It is fantastic to hear residents are thanking Streetscene Operatives like Paul. He has continued to put himself on the frontline cleaning streets, parks, and collecting rubbish in very difficult circumstances.
“It’s roles like this that can sometimes go unnoticed by residents but the work Paul does has such a positive impact on the local community and enables everyone to enjoy shared outside space.”
Local authority improvement body WME, owned by 33 councils across the West Midlands, launched the campaign to recognise #EverydayHeroes – council workers who are working around the clock to keep essential services running and keep us safe through the coronavirus crisis.
Press Release No 5672