New role for Widnes woman in fight against COVID-19

A Widnes office worker has ditched the day job and donned overalls to help keep her key worker colleagues supplied with protective equipment.

Amy Byrne – usually a grounds maintenance co-ordinator for water company United Utilities -  has temporarily switched roles to join the company’s coronavirus contingency effort.

The 27-year-old, from Farnworth, is now using her logistical know-how to coordinate deliveries of vital protective equipment for front line water workers keeping water and sanitation services running.

“I love my job because it is so varied, no two days are ever the same,” said Amy, “But I never expected it to be as varied as it is now!

“I usually spend my time making sure all our reservoirs, treatment works and pumping stations are kept safe and tidy with a regular schedule for grass-cutting and other maintenance. I see to it that the team have all the right training and equipment they need to do their jobs.”

While some of that safety-related work is still ongoing, Amy is now managing the supply of hand sanitiser, disinfectant, wipes and other protective equipment for the engineers who are out keeping the taps flowing and the toilets flushing.

Amy explained: “I’m now liaising with our supply chain, doing stock checks at our HQ in Warrington, loading up delivery vans and generally doing whatever it takes to make sure our key workers can continue to do their jobs and keep themselves and the public safe.  It’s busy and I love it.”

United Utilities’ Grounds Maintenance team is no stranger to mucking in when the going gets tough. Amy said: “We joke that we’re the fourth emergency service. Two years ago during the terrible moorland fires on UU land at Winter Hill, our lads were at the sharp end helping the fire service spot new break outs and helping with the moorland recovery effort afterwards. 

“Many of the same team are now driving the delivery vans with the PPE.  It’s very rewarding to be doing our bit to help support our colleagues during this difficult time.”