Published 15 February 2022
A group of employees who regularly go above and beyond in their duties has been selected as finalists for this year’s Employee Recognition Awards.
Awards organisers received almost 200 nominations to highlight the excellent work being undertaken by employees across a range of different Council services.
Following deliberations from the judging panel, three finalists were chosen in four categories – Team of the Year; Communities Award; Team Leader of the Year; and Employee of the Year. Due to the exceptionally high standard of nominations, four finalists were selected for the Youth Ambassador of the Year category.
Each year, one team or individual is given the Chief Executive Award, chosen by Chief Executive Joyce White.
The 2021 finalists have been invited to attend a virtual awards ceremony where the overall winners will be announced.
Finalists in the 2020 awards, which was postponed due to the pandemic, will also attend the online ceremony.
The winners of each category will later be invited to an in-person lunch event at Clydebank Town Hall, hosted by Joyce White.
Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “Our employees have shown true dedication, commitment and teamwork more so than ever before during the past two years, during what has been an exceptionally challenging time.
“It is great that we are still able to host this event to recognise their hard work and the way they regularly go the extra mile for both the Council and the communities it serves.”
The finalists for the 2021 Employee Recognition Awards are:
Waste Services: The Waste Services team have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic, putting themselves on the frontline every single day. The job they diligently undertake is a crucial and key part of the service the Council provides to residents, but they often don’t get the same recognition as other key workers. This nomination was made to ensure these employees are given the respect, praise and acknowledgement they deserve.
Welfare Fund: The team have worked throughout the pandemic to support citizens of West Dunbartonshire who have encountered hardship. Despite the additional pressure of a much-increased workload, which has included dealing with Self Isolation Grants, they have remained professional, empathetic and shown a firm desire to help people in need. The team has played a vital role in supporting our community through these very difficult times.
Summer Extravaganza Planning Team: With the aim of supporting the wellbeing of all children and young people and in particular those most at risk and disadvantaged by the pandemic, a group of employees from Educational Services launched a packed programme of free activities during the summer holidays in 2021, including sports camps, yoga, craft clubs and outdoor learning. Within 8 weeks the group had arranged a 5 week programme across 19 venues offering 11,038 free places over 337 sessions. Every child at every session was provided with access to a free lunch or snacks in line with our drive to address holiday hunger.
Claire McGinley: As lead officer for the Vaccination Centres, Claire has gone above and beyond to ensure the smooth operation of the facilities, showing her clear commitment, dedication and flexibility when dealing with an ever-changing picture. In addition to this, she has supported 57 young people through the Kickstart Programme, with 18 so far securing further employment with the Council.
Caroline Perici: Caroline is care coordinator at Queens Quay House care home in Clydebank. During an extremely challenging time where she and colleagues were dealing with Covid-19 and associated restrictions, she always went the extra mile to ensure employees felt supported and safe.
Lynn O’Donnell: Lynn was nominated for her flexible and adaptable attitude towards the approach the Learning Disabilities team takes, which has improved engagement with service users. Initiatives she has supported during lockdown including the launch of a quarterly activity pack and securing funding for iPads to run virtual classes and reduce isolation.
Nicole Withers: A digital marketing apprentice when the pandemic hit, Nicole quickly offered to step into a customer service role on social media, answering queries on service disruption, directing people towards critical support and providing key information as the pandemic continued. At the peak of the pandemic Nicole responded to over 200 messages in a single day. Her commitment, enthusiasm, resilience and willingness to help in any situation has been an asset in the Covid response.
Brooke Walker: Brooke started her career through Working4U’s Skills Development Scotland Employability Fund Scheme and moved onto a Modern Apprenticeship in the team. In her role she has supported Kickstart and Young Persons Guarantee programmes, as well as coordinating and presenting at two Youth Opportunity Fayres educating and inspiring other young people with her own story.
Declan Taylor: Originally recruited as part of the Kickstart programme as a Vaccination Centre Assistant, Declan’s strong work ethic and can-do attitude was noticed immediately. Since taking on a secondment with the Work Connect service as Facilities Assistant in Levengrove Training Suite, he has fully embraced the opportunity to learn more about patient care. He is enthusiastic, shows initiative and willingness to learn, and his positive attitude is contagious among staff and patients.
Kirsten Stewart: Social worker Kirsten has been on the front line throughout the pandemic, continuing to support vulnerable groups on a face to face basis. She frequently goes above and beyond by collecting clothing and food to donate to local food banks and charity shops and last year put together winter clothing and personal care packs as well as Christmas treats for vulnerable clients and service users’ children.
Maureen McGuinness: Home Care worker Maureen was nominated for her caring and friendly attitude and using her initiative to adapt her care plans to suit the specific needs of individual service users. She takes her time to gain trust and goes out of her way to research how to make care plan participation easier for her service users, including discovering she could use music to calm one individual. She has been described as a “shining example to all of how care in the community should work.”
Lucy Dunbar: Working4U Development Officer Lucy is the sole member of staff working on an Illegal Money Lending project, but her achievements have been outstanding. She has engaged more than 100 residents and provided 1-2-1 support, assisted 45 families to open bank accounts; educated more than 600 school pupils, young people and service users in finances and illegal money lending; set up a Financial Literacy class and established a text service to provide residents with an alternative source of money help.
Yvonne Innes: Community Justice Officer Yvonne has been nominated for the wide-ranging support she offers service users under her care. During lockdown she went above and beyond, helping service users navigate mental health services, access food from food banks and being a friendly and knowledgeable voice when they needed support. Her dedication and commitment to help vulnerable residents to rebuild their lives has been a lifeline for many.
Jane Haddow: Since losing her older brother Kevin to suicide in 2015, Jane has raised thousands for mental health charities and local foodbanks in his memory. Her fundraising has seen her selling merchandise, organising memorial football matches and participating in sponsored stadium stomps which involved climbing four stadiums and 19 miles in one day. Aside from the money she has donated, Jane has worked tirelessly in her own time to raise awareness of mental health locally, helping break the stigma when it comes to talking about mental health.
Lucy Dunbar: As sole worker in an Illegal Money Lending initiative, Lucy has made a big difference to the communities in West Dunbartonshire. She has engaged more than 100 residents and provided 1-2-1 support, assisted 45 families to open bank accounts; educated more than 600 school pupils, young people and service users in finances and illegal money lending; set up a Financial Literacy class and established a text service to provide residents with an alternative source of money help.
Kirsten Stewart: Social worker Kirsten has been on the front line throughout the pandemic, continuing to support vulnerable groups on a face to face basis. She frequently goes above and beyond by collecting clothing and food to donate to local food banks and charity shops and last year put together winter clothing and personal care packs as well as Christmas treats for vulnerable clients all service users’ children.
Corporate Health and Safety: This team has been instrumental in navigating the Council, its services and its employees through the pandemic safely. In one of the biggest public health crises in history, the small team stepped in to ensure every facet of the Council’s work was operating as it should, analysing complex national information to compile Council-specific guidance. In the early stages of the pandemic they carried out hundreds of risk assessments and reviews, and implemented safe systems of work to keep critical service employees as safe as possible while delivering essential services to vulnerable residents. Despite the huge increase in workload, the team’s professionalism and dedication has been apparent throughout, and they have continued to offer up their support quickly and respond efficiently to any query be it from an employee, a manager or a Trade Union. The team are worthy of recognition for the significant part they have played in supporting our organisation, its employees and West Dunbartonshire through this challenging time.