In the first of several blogs that reflect upon the experience of our participants during the global pandemic, we begin with Claire McCormick's journey into a new but familiar catering setting
Since 2017, Claire has been a valued team member at Loaf’s City Hall-based café The Bobbin. In that time, she has completed numerous training courses with NOW Group, including The Loaf Catering Academy.
During lockdown life, while furloughed, Claire actively engaged with her Workable Officer Niamh, posting updates on weekly goals and routines, such as baking and daily walks. Like many others, Claire also bought a bike during this period, availing of the exceptional weather and the chance to explore new hobbies.
In turn, Claire was supported by Niamh to keep in touch with her employer and to discuss furlough, new HR systems and any queries around the ‘new normal’. This included timely advice on government guidelines regarding social distancing and good hand hygiene.
Happily, in October, Claire returned to work, lending her services to the recently opened Loaf café at Ulster Museum while The Bobbin remains closed. Despite the challenges posed by unfamiliar surroundings, Claire has shown great resilience in adopting to her changing environment, requiring minimal support from Niamh on her first day at the new Loaf site.
With Loaf’s premises at Ulster Museum forced to close during the four-week circuit breaker, Claire has since had to return temporarily to furlough. However, she retains the same indomitable spirit that was on full display throughout the pandemic and is excited for the challenges ahead, all the while receiving ongoing support from Niamh and NOW’s Workable Support service.