With tens of thousands of trees in the city, it’s no mean feat for Anna and her colleagues to make sure they’re happy, healthy and standing tall. But, when the pandemic struck earlier this year, it was all change as Anna, Aboricultural Officer explains.

“Before Covid, our priority was looking after all the beautiful trees on the highway, in within our public parks across the city. However, the pandemic has meant that myself and our Arborists were redeployed to support other key services in the Council.

Arborists attending a tree in Spondon
Arborists attending a tree in Spondon

On a normal day, we’d coordinate our own teams but from April I’ve also been coordinating all the support drivers for our refuse teams, making sure that everyone is socially distancing and staying safe. The support drivers initially included various Streetpride staff including our Arborists until recently. It’s meant getting up a lot earlier to start work at 5.30am and getting to know around 150 more staff names, which has been very entertaining for the refuse staff .”

As a result of redeployment, some of the usual maintenance work done by Anna and her team has had to be paused.

“Like other departments in the Council, we’ve had to change our priorities. Our normal work was put on hold but leaving 2two Arborists in post to provide day time City wide emergency cover. We still needed the means to attend to dangerous incidents, making sure that our trees remain safe.”

The pandemic hit on the heels of two serious storms that had sadly toppled a number of trees in the city and also disrupted the teams plans to plant new trees around the city.

One of the positive things to come from all the changes is an increased feeling of togetherness at the depot.

“Lots of us already know one another here at Stores Road but being redeployed has helped build new friends and relationships that will benefit everyone in the long term. We’re already like a family down here but that feeling has grown over the last couple of months. We really have great people working as one team for the people of Derby.”