September sees talk of another national lockdown as the UK remembered the sacrifices made 80 years ago in "Our Finest Hour". Our series of what Gallowglass Event Crew were doing (or trying to do) during the year of lockdowns continues.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock put the country on notice for a national social lockdown.
Flying Officer James Buckingham saluted the Battle of Britain memorial window during an 80th anniversary service at Westminster Abbey that culminated in a fly-past by Spitfires and a Hurricane.
Business holds steady at 26% of normal trading. Nowhere near enough but it was something!
View from the top
Paul Grecian – Chairman of the Gallowglass Group
For the first time in six months one of our market sectors is delivering respectable numbers. In real terms it still only sees us operating at a quarter of a normal September, but September is a big month under the usual conditions and we are doing more in this specific sector than last year. Might this be cause for optimism? Probably not. Late in the month as we are planning an event industry reception at an iconic London venue on the 1st October, the Prime Minister announces that venues will not be reopening in a few days time so we start to put the champagne flutes back in their boxes.
On the front line
Stephen Bridgewater – Senior Crew Chief – Wales and South West
We continue work at the stadium, the scale of the endeavour to turn the stadium into a hospital becomes apparent. The fact that we are their - 10 men strong - for weeks is proof of just how much work went into the design and build of such a project. I get a sense of pride that we’ve - in some small way - been able to contribute to the collective effort that has been required to combat the disease. It has taken many facets of our industry to come together in order to make these projects a reality.
Dave Gregory – Senior Crew Chief – London
In September, I was not getting work all the time, only when Gallowglass had work to offer; so I decided on my down time I would start my NEBSOH. This was about the same time as Boris announced an Autumn lockdown. Great time to get stuck in but it was a test being with my family for that long and no work. I love them but more than 3 days and BOY!
Mark Visser – Crew Chief – London
Work picks up in September and I do 10 shifts and 77 hours.
10th September sign more documentation with regards to furlough
With no office and yard, the fun begins with arranging vehicles and meeting points. The Shell petrol station becomes the new Yard pick-up point for yard shifts. Ed Chalmers had the unenviable task of trying to arrange vehicles being handed over between the various drivers.
Marwan Zeghbib – Crew Chief – London
At the beginning of the month, an email came through informing us that despite their best efforts, and due to the government having tweaked the rules, Gallowglass could not guarantee us furlough payment going forwards. This news was, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, rather unsettling. I felt that I would need to secure some work elsewhere until the company was in a position to take on more business from its customers and send us on shifts.
What happened in BD
Antony Cook – Head of Business Development
30th brings us Global Action Day.
Over 25 countries were involved, thousands of venues supported the event and I, along with a merry band of my fellow Gallows, headed down to the Tate Modern to lend our support to the #WeMakeEvents #LightItInRed campaign. A battle in raising awareness in the hope that the government will take notice and support the hundreds of thousands of people in our incredible industry who so desperately need it. It was the first time in a while that I had got together with colleagues for several months and I must confess it was good to catch up. Might also have been something to do with the 1 or 2 (?) beers that we had but the night was cut short by the 10pm pub curfew, which on reflection was probably a good thing the speed those couple of drinks went down!
What happened in HR
Chris Parry-Jones – Director of Human Resources
Work is picking up a little and that is good news. Everyone is going a bit stir crazy sitting at home especially now they have done all the DIY and decorating. H & S in the Middle East is continuing to get work in and we are living in hope. Everyone has missed their summer season so finances are extremely tight – we contribute so much as an industry and not only to the finances of this country but more importantly to the welfare of the country. Everyone needs down time and the ability to create memories that last for years. So many of the industry bodies are lobbying and it is great to see.
What happened in IT
Darren Thorley – Head of IT
I set off on a bit of a tour collecting IT kit from those that had been made redundant. Very emotional all round.
At the end of August, we completed our move from the office which left us with certain logistical challenges. For example, crew frequently need vehicles to travel to and from shifts. Without our London base we spent September coming up with solutions to ensure that we could effectively continue to provide the levels of service our clients expect. We all worked closely together to come up with effective solutions.