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Comment: How the pandemic is driving appreciation for transport workers

Peter Millichap, marketing director at Teletrac Navman UK, on how the work of the UK’s unsung transport heroes is now being better recognised.

Teletrac Navman says Dave Chapman (left) and colleague Liam Staples of Metworks are shining examples of individuals who deserve a special mention for their work during the pandemic

At the start of the pandemic, many people gained a new appreciation for the workers who keep the country going. The nation thanked the NHS, carers, supermarket staff and delivery van drivers for their continued diligence, care, and consideration on top of their usual duties.

Whilst this has been a long and challenging year, in a more positive light we have come to re-evaluate ‘essential’ or ‘key’ work and increased our recognition for the risks those essential workers take to keep us fed, cared for, taught and entertained.

It begs the question: Will levels of gratitude for key workers endure post-pandemic? The transport industry’s drivers and route planners have worked tirelessly to fulfil online orders during the stay-home period. As the boom in online shopping is probably here to stay, demanding days behind the wheel for drivers are set to continue. But it can be very easy to lose sight of the people behind the orders we place.

It’s these hidden heroes, on the road and in the office, we’ll be celebrating in 2021 and beyond. The key workers ensuring every product purchased gets from A to B, to keep Britain moving.

And we’re starting with Dave Chapman, a driver at Metworks – a repairs and maintenance team, who look after more than 26,000 properties across London and the East Midlands. Dave and his colleagues, Liam Staples and Patrick Brian, are shining examples of individuals who deserve a special mention for going above and beyond during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Day-to-day, Dave travels between Nottingham, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and South Yorkshire, clearing properties of abandoned household items ready for new tenants to move in. Always known to go the extra mile, if Dave spots unwanted items previous tenants have left, he’ll rehome to someone more needing or donate the items to charity to prevent them from going to landfill. “I get a pleasure from giving stuff to people that will benefit them; that’s what I enjoy doing,” Dave says.

Once again, during the pandemic, Dave and the team exceeded the usual expectations when they were asked to deliver about 200 boxes containing a mix of essential and non-essential items to newly vulnerable people. From a charity called Giving World based in Leicester, the boxes had a total value of £19,375. Giving World partner with busy companies to redirect their end-of-line, discontinued and surplus stock to the most deprived communities in the UK.

In his typical manner, Dave was more than happy to help transport the load, and the charity said without his help, they would not have been able to deliver the much-needed project.

Keen to recognise the team effort, Metworks Transport Manager, Joe Masters added: “The team are out every day putting themselves at risk, and they never complain – they just get on with it, so it’s essential we recognise the importance of their work.”

That is why Dave and the team have been awarded Teletrac Navman’s Hidden Hero of the month for going the extra mile. Rather than accepting a prize, they chose to make a donation to Cancer Research UK – a charity close to them.

We hope this is one way to keep reminding people of the amazing work of UK transport workers, and we want them to be celebrated and valued as the everyday heroes they are, for their role they’re playing, now and in the future.

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.

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