Hard-working East Renfrewshire Council staff recognised at inaugural awards

All the winners at the We Are East Ren Awards 2018, with chief executive Lorraine McMillan, Provost Jim Fletcher and Councillor Tony Buchanan. (Photo: Stewart Robertson)
All the winners at the We Are East Ren Awards 2018, with chief executive Lorraine McMillan, Provost Jim Fletcher and Councillor Tony Buchanan. (Photo: Stewart Robertson)

East Renfrewshire Council hosted its first ever staff recognition event – the We Are East Ren Awards – to recognise hard-working staff going above and beyond for residents.

Around 100 staff gathered at Clarkston Hall to celebrate the achievements of colleagues from across the Council and Health and Social Care Partnership.

Awards were handed out in five categories, which were designed to tie in to the Council’s Vision for the Future of being a modern, ambitious council creating a fairer future with all.

The winners in each category were:

• Putting people first – Jumana Almusawi, Housing Officer (Refugee Resettlement)

• Innovation and improvement – Levern Valley Rehabilitation and Enablement Service team

• Going the extra mile – Ellen de Lombaerde, Technical Services Team Leader

• Young employee of the year – David Saleh, Senior Business Support Assistant

• Team of the year – Winter Maintenance Service team

Chief executive Lorraine McMillan said: “Congratulations to all our winners from the first ever We Are East Ren Awards. It was wonderful to celebrate the amazing contribution made by so many of our staff and hear all the amazing stories about the work which goes on day-in day-out to ensure our residents receive the best services possible.

“As our recognition scheme grows in the years ahead I hope that it will instil a sense of pride into our entire workforce – providing passionate and committed staff across the council and HSCP.”

“A total of 20 finalists were shortlisted across the five award categories before a panel of judges decided on the winners.

The winners were selected for showing absolute dedication to their role, often going above and beyond to ensure they delivered the very highest standards.

Jumana Almusawi impressed the judging panel after playing a key role in supporting Syrian refugee families to settle in the area.

Her dedication to the role has helped these families to integrate with the wider Scottish society, whilst also breaking down cultural differences and barriers.

She has worked with the families to develop a wide range of training sessions, supporting many to secure driving licences, food hygiene certificates and hair dressing certificates – which has supported them into jobs.

The Levern Valley Rehabilitation and Enablement Service was set up in February 2017 with the aim of reducing the waiting times of residents living in Levern Valley (Barrhead and Neilston) who required Occupational Therapy support.

Since the introduction of the Rapid Access team, which is made up of four members of staff, more than 100 cases have been dealt with and waiting times reduced significantly – showing that this innovative approach to supporting residents is already having a major impact on lives.

Architect Ellen de Lombaerde was recognised for taking the lead role in steering the technical aspects of the Council’s submission to the Scottish Government in relation to the upcoming expansion of Early Years provision across the area.

This required assessing a wide range of sites, understanding the requirements of colleagues across the Council when developing new Early Years establishments, and also working to extremely tight timescales.

Ellen’s tenacity and dedication to the task was crucial in supporting Education colleagues to submit a comprehensive plan to the Scottish Government.

Senior Business Support Assistant David Saleh works within the Environment Department and has played a major role in digitising the process for working with commercial waste customers and modernising the way information is provided to these customers.

The final award of the day was presented to the Winter Maintenance Service team, which is made up of 44 members of staff. The staff work on a 24-hour rota to keep East Renfrewshire moving during the winter months, treating our roads during the most extreme conditions to ensure they remain safe for residents.

With particularly challenging conditions to deal with this winter the team performed exceptionally, constantly gritting and ploughing key routes and refilling grit bins to help our communities.