A Peterborough social enterprise is leading the way in the gradual return to work during COVID-19.
Westcombe Engineering, a social enterprise which is owned by Peterborough City Council, provides permanent employment and work experience for local disabled people.
Like many businesses, Westcombe shut up shop when the Prime Minister imposed the strict lockdown. It has now re-opened after a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment – assessed by the council’s Health and Safety team to enable the organisation to bring back employees in a safe working environment – with 86 per cent of its workforce now in operation.
The management introduced sweeping changes to working practises to ensure staff were protected including staggered lunch and tea breaks, hygiene stations, regular team communications, additional changing rooms and toilets, spacing out lockers, stopping people clocking in and out and only allowing essential visitors on site.
Andrew Lesiw, managing director at Westcombe Engineering, said: “As soon as we closed, we started preparing a COVID-19 risk assessment that was signed off by the city council to help employees return to work safely.
“Our building has made this easier than some and we are a very close-knit team, used to working with each other which has helped as well. We’re now gearing up for our busiest period since the business started operating, securing new orders for existing customers.”
Only this week, Westcombe Engineering had another new machining centre delivered to support a significant order, which involves supplying high precision machined parts which fit into a battery module, to allow the electric conversion of buses in America.
Councillor Marco Cereste, cabinet member for Peterborough City Council, said: “The team at Westcombe have been very forward thinking and has identified good solutions to help its business continue to thrive in a COVID-19 world. They really are leading the way and proving the workplace can return to a new ‘normal’ in the coming weeks and months.”