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Our response to Storm Eunice



Without knowing what the severity would be and the impact on our residents and colleagues, here is a quick overview of how we pulled together and demonstrated great partnership working.

On Friday morning a team of senior managers held the first of their four meetings to review the situation and make any plans. The team included Gilmartins to understand the impact on our repairs service.

The cross-team partnership responded to changing situations and kept reviewing what we needed to do to manage and respond to the storm and communicate with our residents and staff.

​​​​​​​Across the organisations our colleagues, went over and above.  Here are a few examples of how we demonstrated how we were on the side of our residents:

Estates Services were out and about working as usual from very early in the morning during storm Eunice and managed to put all the bins out for collection as normal and put them away again without incident. They dealt with all their usual duties despite the weather.

Neighbourhoods worked from home and co-ordinated tasks with the help of other teams to ensure priorities were met during storm Eunice. Gillian and Dawn went the extra mile going out to Stevenage on Saturday to ensure vital tasks were completed that couldn’t be done on Friday.

Customer Resolution Team despite the challenges of the Gilmartins repairs phone lines going down short a short period in the afternoon and then coming back, the team answered a fantastic 72% of calls within one minute.

The Repairs Team were already very busy by lunch time. Gilmartins call handlers were taking a much higher volume of calls than a normal Friday and with more emergencies.  Unfortunately, the weather continued to cause issues over the weekend and into Monday. Gilmartins had already put our emergency plan into place, monitoring the weather reports that week - all scaffolds were checked, all high-level work suspended to ensure everyone was safe and customers were told about any changes to repairs in advance. From 11am to close of business there were 98 calls, some of which were not emergencies. The team still managed to complete day to day booked appointments.

 The types of calls Gilmartins received:

  • ​​​​​​​roof tiles lifting and falling to the ground
  • dangerous windows glass as debris had caused glass to crack
  • a window blown out of a one of our care and support schemes
  • car window damaged from falling debris
  • cladding blown off a neighbouring roof and onto Origin property and of course fences being blown over.

Fatima was one of the few scheme managers who made it in and actually stayed at Rose Bush until past 5pm on Friday.  Fatima also checked in with other schemes where staff hadn’t managed to get in.

Wendy, a scheme manager (Stokes Court), stepped in at short notice to cover for Doreen.

Karen (Blakeney House) picked up some essentials from the local shop for tenants who couldn’t get out.

Natasha found out that Speedwell Court only had one member of staff on site. She made her way in to help provide support to tenants.

The late / sleepover staff was then unable to get a train in to work from Harlow. Natasha stayed on site until the trains were running. When the trains started running again Natasha realised it would take the staff member over two hours to get the service. Natasha decided to stay for the sleepover shift.

At 9:30pm Natasha discovered that the Sheltered Plus Waking Night staff was not at the service. Natasha went over to Speedwell House to check on the tenants and informed them there was no staff available in their office that night but she would be on the premises at the Speedwell Ct office if needed.

Thanks to everyone to their response.