East Suffolk Norse staff received widespread praise for going above and beyond their normal duties last week, clearing snow and ice to help keep vital vaccination centres open.

With freezing conditions and heavy snow sweeping across the eastern region, there were fears that a Felixstowe medical centre would have to close, and the vaccine roll out would be delayed in the Suffolk town.

Community volunteers were battling against the extreme weather conditions, trying to keep the site clear and safe, so the vital 500 vaccines per day could still be administered at the medical centre.

But when Steve Green – Operations Manager for East Suffolk Norse in Felixstowe – became aware of the problem, he drafted his team in to help.

After they’d completed their day’s work at the Port of Felixstowe, Steve and his team raced to the Grove Medical Centre, to dig in, literally.

Arriving well-equipped with a grit spreader, snow shovels and scrapers, the East Suffolk Norse contingent quickly got to work; clearing the pathways and entrances and gritting the car park.

Among the band of community volunteers was local councillor and Mayor of Felixstowe, Mark Jepson, who praised the East Suffolk Norse team for their incredible response, in helping the volunteers ensure the vaccination centre remained open.

“It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I must thank Norse…and bless him [Steve Green], he’s had his team up there and they’ve dropped some more grit off. They’re not charging the Grove or ourselves for it. That just shows what a brilliant collective this has been.”

Steve was equally proud of his team for their efforts: “I have a highly dedicated team; I’ve got some really good people, who are very enthusiastic and committed to delivering services, especially for vital community causes such as this,” he said.

“As a partner of East Suffolk Council, we did what we could so that people could safely get their vaccinations done, which is incredibly important.”

And the Grounds Team at East Suffolk Norse was also branching out from their usual duties to assist those in need in the severe weather.

In addition to clearing away snow at another vaccination centre in Woodbridge, Grounds staff traded their usual gardening tools for snow shovels and gritters to assist a housebound elderly couple.

Heavy snow drifts had covered the road and lane leading to the couple’s cottage, just outside Felixstowe, leaving the pair stuck at home and needing to attend a hospital appointment.

Fortunately, they were soon on their way thanks to the efforts of our Grounds Team, who worked hard to clear a safe path through deep snow drifts to ensure the elderly couple could safely get to their vital appointment.