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Jacobs Project Manager Organizes Village-Wide COVID-19 Response

Project Manager Gemma Goulding works on decommissioning programs at the Sellafield nuclear site. But last month she turned her organizational skills to a different problem.

Gemma Goulding, a project manager in our Westlakes office in West Cumbria, U.K., works on decommissioning programs at the Sellafield nuclear site. But last month she turned her organizational skills to a different problem – helping those who are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gemma decided to act when she heard about an elderly woman who had sadly passed away at home two weeks after anyone had last been in contact with her.

She started a Facebook group, which is now supported by hundreds of villagers, to ensure that those trapped in their homes get vital information and supplies.

The Seascale and Gosforth COVID-19 Support Group now has 366 members, including more than 60 volunteers who are actively helping others while maintaining physical distancing and minimal exposure to infection risks.

Gemma says, “With the help of a local County Councilor we got the Parish Council to print flyers with contact details on, telling people they were not alone and someone was there should they need them.”

“I mapped out our village and assigned roads to certain people, minimising the need for people to leave their houses.”

“I have had people contact me from up and down the country asking us to keep an eye on their parents while they can’t,” she continues. “We have also put in place a home delivery service for prescription medicines and for groceries from our local businesses as there is so much demand for online grocery shopping that people can't get things delivered.”

“We researched and made connections with lots of small businesses in the area to arrange support for them to also deliver, which not only enables people to still get their fresh fruit and vegetables but also helps keep small business going,” she adds. “I am really proud, there is so much that still needs done but in three weeks we have gone from a thought to a community team!”

Gemma, who is still working full time on projects, has also initiated a ‘surprise food parcel’ scheme, where end-of-life goods donated by a local shop are distributed on their sell-by date to people self-isolating. She has appointed a member of the volunteer group to oversee collections and deliveries on a rota basis, so everyone regularly receives a little something.

Feedback from this scheme has been fantastic – one elderly resident got in touch to say how she now had something to look forward to, waiting to see if it’s her turn to get a surprise!

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Related terms: COVID-19, COVID, Coronavirus

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