Message to staff on 25 March from Chief Executive, Dr Grace Vickers

Further to my message yesterday, I wanted to say thank you for your continued hard work, care and compassion.

We now have a number of staff who are working from home.  So, to those working from home, Good Morning I hope you have a productive day ahead. I have been overwhelmed with the work which is taking place. Our Teachers, who are not physically present in our Hubs, are busy ensuring that our Children and Young People have learning tasks to do at home. I found out yesterday that 96% of pupils at Newbattle High School were using Google Classroom and, for those who were not connect, staff have and continue to prepare packs of work for pupils to do. We are seeing wonderful work from our teachers and indeed some pupils putting their completed work up on twitter including their beautiful rainbows. For those who are twitter users, please include #kindnessmidlothian to your tweet and then we can all see examples of this great work.

Including #kindnessmidlothian on your tweet means that we will have a digital story book of all the wonderful things that are happening across Midlothian. When all of this is over we will have a beautiful virtual memory box to look back on and feel proud that we were able to make such a difference.

Good morning to the large number of staff who are normally office based and now working from home. It is important that you stay in touch with one another digitally or by phone. Across the Council we have replaced physical meetings with Zoom meetings meaning that we can still do our work but do it safely. Today our Community Planning Partnership will have a Zoom meeting to minimise the contact people are having with one another helping to halt the speed of the Coronavirus. More information will be coming out later this week about digital platforms which you can use. I know many are also using Zoom, Collaborate, Microsoft Teams, etc and this is great to hear because it means you are still connecting with your colleagues at the same time as helping to halt the speed at which the Coronavirus is spreading. For those connected to a virtual platform think about having a virtual lunch with your team at least once a week.

To those who are here physically, my thanks because you are doing a critical front line job. I have been so appreciative of  this work. At #kindessmidlothian we are sharing examples of staff who are now undertaking alternative duties and, as we continue to train staff (adhering to social distancing of course), we will continue to share their journey as they move from their main role into front facing roles which will be very much required in the days ahead.

The Council Leader, Derek Milligan, has stated very publically how impressed he is with the work of staff and volunteers across our services. Derek was very clear when he chaired the Community Planning Partnership how amazed he was at the coming together of services and the willingness of staff to work and help in areas new to them and the “yes we can” attitude coming from all sectors.

We also received an email of thanks yesterday from our MP, Owen Thomson, who said “if you could pass on my appreciation of the huge efforts being made by Council staff to keep things running through the current unprecedented situation.  I know countless people are going above and beyond to do whatever it takes to keep things going”.

This is a strange time for all of us and our feelings will be mixed, it is normal to be anxious. So to help, our Health and Social Care Directorate have provided a useful link. This is an animation called F.A.C.E.C.O.V.I.D. It only lasts 5 ½  minutes and includes useful steps we can all take which I think will help. So I am asking all staff to click on the link today and follow this lovely advice. You may not think you need this advice yet, but in the days to come I think you will appreciate it – hopefully it will help calm your mind:

To keep your spirits up – share your good stories and stay connected at #kindnessmidlothian to see all the fantastic work being carried out across Midlothian as we continue to protect our communities and help the NHS save lives.

With best wishes,

Grace.

25 Mar 2020