RESIDENTS, council staff, and other key figures in the community have been thanked for their hard work in keeping Bracknell Forest safe and well during the coronavirus pandemic.

During a council meeting earlier this week (before new tier restrictions were announced), Labour councillor Kathryn Neil asked colleagues to join her in formally acknowledging the lengths council staff went to keep residents informed and looked after over the past eight months.

She said: “We would like to put on record our heartfelt thanks and recognition of the hard work and resilience shown by the council workforce throughout what has been a challenging year for all.

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“Bracknell Forest Council employees have shown great commitment and adaptability to ensure our residents have received the best information, service and support as possible.

“Members of staff have taken on working in different teams with new colleagues, picking up new tasks and learning new skills.

“Whether that has meant working in the Crematorium when they usually work at the Look Out, our librarians who have stepped in to support contact tracing or retraining and helping out with Forest Care and other departments.

“It is not possible to list all the individual acts from our officers, front line workers and schools staff, so to the whole workforce at Bracknell Forest Council, we cannot thank you enough for everything you have done and continue to do.”

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Paul Bettison, Conservative councillor and leader of Bracknell Forest Council, welcomed Cllr Neil’s request but asked for a special thanks to be added for residents and other groups which have worked with the council, too.

He said: “I wholeheartedly agree the council should put on record its recognition and thanks for the resilience and commitment being shown by all of the council’s workforce.

“But I believe we should go further. We should also thank our partner organisations.

“We work often through contractors and sub-contractors and their people have, likewise, had to work in different ways and in extremely difficult circumstances.

“And I do believe our residents should be thanked. Twenty per cent of them have volunteered [over the pandemic]. We should thank those volunteers.

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“We should also thank every resident who has observed the government guidance because to be honest, that is the reason why our infection numbers have been minimised.

“That’s why the local effects of the pandemic are substantially less than could be the case in many places around the country.

“We all must retain the confidence we will win and that will be due to many, many people in this borough.”

Councillors came together to put on record their recognition and thanks for the “resilience and commitment being shown by the all the council’s workforce, its partner organisations, its residents, many of whom have volunteered, and who have observed the government guidance, all of which has helped to minimise the local effects of the pandemic.”

This was agreed at a meeting of the council on Wednesday, November 25.

“We have staff who suddenly at a few days notice had to begin to work from home, had to work differently, they sometimes had to work doing entirely different jobs and they stepped up remarkably well.