“While not on the front line, I am classed as a key worker and I have worked throughout the pandemic. I’m in a call centre answering calls from tenants and residents who have an emergency and need an essential service, from a plumber or electrician for example, and I find one to send out.
I work for Your Business Voice, part of Call Care Ltd, which is a call centre. I have worked there for 15 years. I am a lone worker who does the night shift: between 10pm and 8am with four nights on and four nights off.
During the first lockdown, my hours were reduced with very little notice. I got to the yard following a shift at 8:15am and they rang me at 8:30am to tell me. They changed to 6am-9am and 6pm-9pm with immediate effect. I did this shift for two weeks and then went on to 3pm-10pm (Tuesday-Friday) and 3pm-11pm (on a Saturday).
The company receives calls from a wide variety of clients and I look after calls for emergency plumbers, joiners, electricians, drainage teams and lift engineers (domestic and commercial). These are from Housing Association tenants, council tenants and private individuals as well as commercial properties countrywide.
I take the calls and pass jobs out to the appropriate engineer. As they are lone workers, I also monitor them.
We also take calls for the NHS and monitored some of their care lines and their Covid care line for NHS staff.
Due to having asthma and therefore falling into the high risk Covid category, at work I use the board room at the back of our offices and sit on my own. I sit right next to the door where my dogs are just outside: my Land Rover is kitted out for dogs with cages and air con and parked in a nice cool garage.
‘My husband’s business was hit hard’
I am also company secretary for my husband’s business Baildon Electrical Services Ltd. This was hit hard by the pandemic as although he had work he wasn’t allowed to go to the jobs. As a company director he didn’t qualify for any of the Government grants and so we have had to tighten our belts.
Not being able to see my parents and family has been very hard, but we are able to chat on the phone and via video link so we keep in touch regularly. It’s great that we can now see each other. They’ve had their vaccinations and at the time of writing I had had my first.”
‘My horses keep me sane’
My routine for the horses hasn’t really changed during the pandemic. I still go to the yard every day and started riding seven days a week instead of five due to my change of hours. My horses are on DIY livery on a working farm, so there is no one there to do them instead of me.
We are lucky enough to be next to moorland and I have been able to access this throughout the pandemic. I feed, water, hay and/or turn out my three horses as well as my friend’s three in the mornings and she does evening chores. It’s a bit lonely but we cope; we are just grateful to be able to go to them and are happy to abide by the rules the yard owner sets.
My boys help keep me sane as not being able to go anywhere or visit anyone — not even seeing my mates at the yard — has been hard, especially as I work on my own too.
My chestnut Arab, Northroyd Alpine Amal (‘Harry’) is 26 and I’ve had him since the day he was born. He was out of work over winter but contributed last summer to my #Hack1000Miles tally. He has just come back into work; he’s ridden bitless and treeless but needs shoes.
My Welsh D, Cynfab Maverick (‘Billy’) will be 10 in April and I’ve had him since he was five months old. He’s also ridden bitless and treeless, as well as being barefoot, and he has done the majority of my 1,000 hacking miles
Roger Red R (‘Diesel’) is another Arab and he will be three in April. I’ve only had him since October. He was bought for me by a very good friend, Leanne Sedgwick, who is also a member of #Hack1000Miles, to say thank you for helping her over the last 20 years. He has done a couple of in-hand walks.
I recently finished my second 1,000 miles and am looking forward to this year’s challenge.”