Mark Cleere

Property & Facilities Manager, LEYF

What was a typical work day like before the corona crisis?
In between meetings and dealing with calls and emails from contractors, nurseries and colleagues, most days were spent visiting as many nurseries as possible to check on standards and work completed and keep up communication and good relations with the managers and staff.

When the outbreak started, what was your initial reaction?
To get stocked up very quickly on items that would be hard to get (sanitiser, PPE, etc) in the coming weeks as well as finding different ways to travel to be able to get to work when trains were chaotic prior to lockdown.

What impact did this have on your day job and how did you adapt?
Mainly it made it very difficult to have face-to-face contact at nurseries as often as I would like. I ensured I kept contact with the managers at open nurseries up by phone with occasional visits with stocks of PPE and sanitiser to keep them safe and hopefully boost morale a bit with a visit. Also, vitally important was to ensure contracts and contractors visits to closed nurseries were paused in the fairest way possible for both parties to ensure good relations continued when we start to reopen again.

What are the big challenges you have faced / are facing as the pandemic continues?
Having to limit spend to very little or none for everyone, only fixing urgent items that cannot wait. Travel issues continue to limit my ability to get around to check up on works and standards, and therefore having to take other people’s confirmation instead of my visual checks is not ideal. And of course, the continual challenge to source vital items for the teams during global shortage is ongoing.

How have you kept going through the tough times?
Faith that LEYF are doing their upmost as always to protect all staff and families in a transparent and consistent way with Zoom meetings, update letters and making huge efforts to come together socially to ensure isolation is not an issue.

I am also enjoying big family get togethers on Zoom regularly and I am getting up at the usual time every day to prevent the body clock from getting confused as well as just making sure I find ways to always keep busy.

What acts of kindness have you seen or shown that have made you smile recently?
Community village collections for local food banks on every street. Local shopkeepers giving out face masks to elderly / vulnerable when they come into their shop and cards received in the post rather than email from Nephews and Nieces with safe wishes and hopes to see us soon.

What has this crisis taught you – both professionally and on a personal level?
The importance of staying calm and methodical and to be willing to adapt in order to process changes with work or private plans, whether short or long term, planned or unplanned. I try to remind myself to always be positive and helpful to make a difference in each day to lift my own and others morale.

How are you trying to stay happy and healthy?
Keeping busy and ensuring daily exercise is taken. Cooking and eating fresh healthy meals daily and keeping routines as close to normal as possible.