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Bracknell Forest Council nominated for award

COVID Ambassadors standing next to an ad bike in the town centre

Bracknell Forest Council and NSL (our parking contractors) have been nominated for a British Parking Award in the positive response to the pandemic category.

This category recognises the exceptional work that our parking team has done to help manage, mitigate and fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Following central government’s announcement in September 2020 that would provide local councils with funding to improve the safety of their towns and city centres, NSL created bespoke solutions. One of these included the provision of COVID-19 Ambassadors.

They worked in partnership with Bracknell Forest Council’s parking management team and environmental health teams from the Public Protection Partnership to develop a plan of role requirements and locations where COVID-19 Ambassadors could be deployed to make a real difference. This also included collaboration with The Lexicon town centre management team to support them in managing the busy town centre in the lead up to Christmas.

To kick off the project, NSL recruited 6 COVID-19 Ambassadors for an initial period of 3 months. These positions were filled, and the ambassadors were quickly deployed across Bracknell. The officers were very well received by both the public and business owners across the borough.

The council then asked NSL to extend the service by providing an additional 6 ambassadors as part of a commitment to further drive down the number of COVID-19 cases across the borough. They focussed on open space areas which needed increased monitoring of activity.

The council also asked NSL to provide 16 COVID-19 Ambassadors to attend and manage 4 new community lateral flow testing sites.

This service has allowed NSL, which is better known for providing civil parking enforcement solutions, to be seen in a different light. These ambassadors have supported residents and built good relations with local business owners around the borough – many of which are now on first name terms! This illustrates how far the service has come in such a short space of time.

Cllr Paul Bettison, OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council said:

“The COVID-19 Ambassadors have been an important part of the COVID-19 response work in the borough.

“Providing advice, support and guidance across the borough, the team has been well received by our residents and this nomination is a reflection of that.

“With only 20 councils and parking teams nominated from across the country, it is a real recognition of the collaboration between Bracknell Forest Council and NSL.”

The winners will be announced at the awards on Friday 24 September.