SINCE the coronavirus pandemic started nearly 250 Dorset Council employees have taken up new roles to bolster frontline services.

These temporary roles include delivering supplies, supporting registration services, helping at household recycling centres and contacting residents who have been shielding.

The employees were taken from roles considered non-critical by the council.

Dorset Council deputy leader Cllr Peter Wharf said: "These colleagues have made a great impact, and they’ve learnt the ropes incredibly quickly during this unprecedented time.

"The crisis has meant everyone has drawn on a determination to succeed and the council has been able to flex its resources to meet demands never seen before.

"I’m confident this sharing of skills, together with a practical approach will stand us in good stead for the future."

When it became obvious the pandemic had hit the council says it identified its critical services and matched employees working in what it considered lower priority services – in a bid to provide cover to address increasing demand or for colleagues who were shielding.

All employees completed a questionnaire designed to identify their skills. Once matched with a suitable role, training and inductions were provided.

Cllr Wharf said: "We’re extremely proud that colleagues from all areas of the council have pulled together to help those at most need in our communities.

"This underlines the crucial role the council has to protect and serve our residents.”