An ambitious programme of community work in Sandwell used the skills of council staff and volunteers to do much-needed improvement work at local centres.
The work to mark National Customer Services Week included a churchyard clean-up, nature conservation work, a litter pick, gardening and anti-vandal painting and council directors doing a series of job-swaps.
Amongst the community projects completed is a churchyard clean-up at St Giles in Rowley Regis, a Gurdwara painting job in West Bromwich, painting the KRUNCH youth in Langley and conservation work at Sheepwash Nature Reserve at Great Bridge.
There was a painting facelift at the Sons of Rest in Wednesbury, and gardening work at Yew Tree Community Centre and at St Albans Community Centre in Smethwick.
More than 100 job swaps have taken place giving staff a taster ranging from sessions at the Coroner’s Office, repairs, electoral services, museums, highways and leisure centres.
Ten community groups and local projects received help with almost 75 staff getting involved as well as the community groups themselves, councillors and senior officers.
Senior managers have undertaken duties to get an insight into staff roles. Chief executive Jan Britton visited repairs and director for regeneration and growth Amy Harhoff worked in facilities post room and curators.
Deputy leader Councillor Syeda Khatun and executive director for neighbourhoods Alison Knight spent half a day at Sandwell Park Farm milking goats and mucking out the animal sheds.
Councillor Khatun said: “This was a marvellous exercise which gave councillors and staff a real insight into the work done at the council – and at the same time doing some really important and worthwhile work for the community.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the farm and it was good to see the work the staff do to keep the area and the animals in good condition that makes it such a popular visit for local families. The list of work that has been completed is very impressive indeed.”
There were several projects in education too, including an initiative which involved inviting their taxi drivers for tea and a chat about child safety and safeguarding as well as inviting in schools to give them an insight into the admissions processes
The Sandwell Local offices and libraries were busy working with local people, signing up for a MySandwell account and highlighting the ‘BetterOffSandwell’ website which helps people to get onto the right benefits.