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Council Covid response honoured with High Sheriff Awards

HIGH Sheriff of Warwickshire Awards have been presented to staff at Rugby Borough Council in recognition of the work carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Former High Sheriff of Warwickshire Joe Greenwell (top left) and the Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Bill Lewis (bottom left), attended the online award ceremony. Published Friday, 23rd April 2021

The awards were announced during an online ceremony conducted by Joe Greenwell CBE, the now former High Sheriff of Warwickshire who handed over his badge of office earlier this month to Min Willoughby de Broke.

The team at Rainsbrook Crematorium were presented with an award for running the council's bereavement services throughout the pandemic, adhering to strict health and safety measures while implementing Government restrictions on attendances at funerals.

A High Sheriff Award was also given to the team at the Benn Hall, who supported the army to run the mobile testing unit at the Newbold Road car park during the first national lockdown.

Mr Greenwell also presented awards to members of council staff who played pivotal roles in Rugby's response to the pandemic.

Michelle Dickson, the council's communities and projects manager, was recognised for her work supporting community and voluntary organisations.

During the pandemic, Michelle took the lead role in setting up and running the borough's community shielding hub at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Centre, which delivered food and other essential supplies to vulnerable residents.

And Michelle also organised the running of Rugby Foodbank when the council took over its operation at the start of the pandemic amid concerns it could close due to the risks Covid-19 posed to charity Hope4's team of volunteers and the public.

A High Sheriff Award was also presented to Marie Filcek, who has now left the council but supported rough sleepers and the homeless in her role with the community advice and support team.

At the start of the pandemic, the Government launched the 'Everyone In' initiative which aimed to ensure rough sleepers and the homeless had access to accommodation.

Marie played a leading role in moving rough sleepers into accommodation while working with support organisations to help individuals address the issues which have led to homelessness.

During the ceremony, Mr Greenwell presented a High Sheriff Award to Gita Natarajan, manager of Rugby's vaccination centre and an organiser of Rugby PPE Response Team, which manufactured and distributed 10,000 face masks to vulnerable residents.

And Nicola Boyd, partnership manager for Queen's Diamond Jubilee Leisure Centre operator GLL, also received an award for supporting the operation of the community shielding hub at the leisure centre during the first lockdown.

The Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Bill Lewis, attended the online ceremony and paid his own tribute to the recipients of the High Sheriff Awards.

"During the many challenges of the pandemic, so many individuals and organisations in Rugby have gone the extra mile to support our communities and protect our most vulnerable residents," Cllr Lewis said.

"I know many staff at the council have worked long hours and been seconded to other duties in order to support our response to the pandemic, and I'm delighted this dedication was recognised by the High Sheriff of Warwickshire."

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