Council’s GEMS honoured at awards bash

This year's GEMS winners
This year's GEMS winners

A CARETAKER and a cleaner were among council staff honoured for ‘going the extra mile’ at work.

Milton Keynes Council’s annual staff recognition scheme, the Gems – ‘Going the Extra Mile’ – awards, took place at the Civic Offices in Central Milton Keynes last week.

The winners were congratulated by Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Catriona Morris, and chief executive David Hill.

Finalists are nominated by colleagues or customers for being particularly helpful, and for introducing new and innovative ways of working which provide a better service.

This year’s winners were:

Martin Blore:

Martin is a caretaker at various council blocks in Bletchley. One of the recurring problems he encounters is keeping communal areas free of rubbish. Martin came up with the idea to paint adjoining fence panels in appropriate colours to highlight designated areas for waste and recycling respectively, helping residents to put their recycling and general rubbish bags in the correct places.

Irem Syed:

Irem is a well respected EMASS Support Staff Advisor. As part of the role, support is provided to 48 supplementary schools within the council’s Ethnic Minority Achievement Support Service. Well respected, and described by one community leader as ‘a tough cookie who always does what is best for them,’ Irem recently supported and advised an Iranian community member in setting up a Farsi Language school. He also put two schools in touch, so they could share skills and support with each other.

Julie Moss, Julie Nokes, Janou Baton, Lesley Swaby and Susanne Des-Forges:

Nominated for working together to introduce a new way of supporting homeless young people, this team introduced an initiative to help find accommodation for homeless young people between the ages of 16 and 17, who are in danger of otherwise ‘falling through the cracks’.

Lorraine Taylor from Ocean Contract Cleaning:

Although not a direct council employee, Lorraine is a very well known face around the council’s Civic Offices, and was recognised for her unstinting cheerfulness and willingness to help out wherever she can, even if it’s not related to her job. She is also said to be unfailingly diligent and devoted. While it’s usual for a GEMS finalist to be nominated by one or two people, Lorraine took the record with 21 seperate nominations.

The Mayor said: “Council employees aren’t always recognised for the hard work that goes on to keep Milton Keynes an attractive and safe place to live.

“We have a lot of people here who are pulling out all the stops – the unsung heroes and heroines – who fully deserve to be recognised and their achievements celebrated.

“These awards are a small way to say thanks to good people who are committed to going the extra mile.”