Creative thinking and problem solving are skills being drafted into every work force across the planet as the world lives through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurants quickly adapting to offer a delivery service in order to survive, gyms and fitness studios developing programmes that people can access online, families looking into how technology can keep them better connected, not to mention the core services that have had to dramatically evolve in order to continue. So too then, for a Scottish highland based theatre workforce of 200 being asked to stand by to assist our local authority’s COVID-19 Resilience Response. Let me start by admitting outright that the words redeployed, resilience and response leave one with a sense of heroism before on has actually done anything at all… where’s my cape?!
Lucy McGlennon, Head of Engagement, home office is all set up and ready for calls.
The Engagement Team, an excellent crew of 10 creatives, artists and producers, were deployed almost as soon as Eden Court closed. Initially to a new Highland Council Helpline, alongside some of our colleagues from the Visitor Experience team. The logical thinking at the time was that as we have experience of working in schools, we’d be well suited to help with enquiries of an educational nature. Sound logic indeed, and after a few hours of familiarising ourselves with the packs of information we had been given we were ready to go. We helpfully passed on the advice and signposted callers to the relevant services, however, we weren’t exactly inundated with calls – a credit to the Education Service within the council.
In fact, the highest volume of calls we received in the first few days of the Helpline being live were people volunteering to help- how amazing is that?! I think the volunteers all need capes too.
After a few days of the Helpline being active, it was felt that it could work with reduced staff, and just as well, because the Education Service, now speedily setting up Key Worker Hubs (providing childcare to enable Key Workers to continue with their work) were on the phone looking for a little help; re-deployment was calling!
Nothing beats a good cuppa.
As of this week, some of our Producers and Arts Practitioners are making their way round the Highland Key Worker Hubs delivering (socially distanced) dance and drama workshops with the young people there. And whilst all of that is going on, we’re working on our first programme of digital creative content that can be shared across Highland for young people and their families to participate in together at home, or indeed for the Hubs to make use of when term resumes on the 13th of April.
I’m so proud to be part of the resilience response in this way, and I’m proud of my colleagues who are embracing new ways of working every day. Capes for everyone!
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