Campus Stars: Sue Mellors

May 18th, 2020

The Campus Stars campaign has been launched to showcase the colleagues still working on campus during the lockdown and highlight the crucial work they do.

Sue is the Childcare Services Manager for both the University of Nottingham Day Nursery and University of Nottingham Playcentre, both located on University Park campus. She has worked at the University for 25 years.

During the pandemic, the playcentre has been closed as there is insufficient demand to keep both open. The Childcare centre is still open providing a service for key workers both for the University and the wider community where private nurseries have closed. Both the Playcentre and Day Nursery staff have been working on a rota to deliver services at the Day Nursery.

To ensure both staff and children are as safe as possible, and enable operations to continue, a large amount of planning and risk assessments have been carried out. All practice has been reviewed and adapted, including hourly sanitising routines and restricting the range and quantity of play items available for children.

The nursery is registered with the local authority to provide services to vulnerable children. As many of the children begin attending with no visits, adjustments have been made to provide emotional security and time and space to adjust to their new surroundings.

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Microsoft Teams has been used to maintain clear lines of communication and support for team members working from home or shielding. Staff are now proficient in the use of Teams and this has enabled supervisions and team meetings to continue. As the situation changes from day to day, communication, flexibility and adaptability has been key for all of the team and Sue is very proud of the way staff have shown their dedication and commitment to their work.

Whilst addressing current challenges, Sue has begun making plans for when restrictions are eased. Places continue to be made for the new financial year and transition documents are in development to support children moving to school in September. Nursery staff have developed a website for children and parents to share storytelling, songs, creative activities and competitions. The team are also considering how social distancing could work in a nursery setting when numbers of children and staff on site increase. Sue feels that the situation has enabled us to get to know each other more as well as learning more about ourselves.

Sue has spent time during lockdown painting and exploring acrylics having been a watercolour painter for many years. Painting helps her to relax and switch off from work whilst learning about ways to use acrylics for her painting style.

Sue’s favourite things about working for the University is the vibrant international community and the beautiful campuses. The University provides an excellent working environment, making staff feel truly valued and supported both professionally and personally.

Sue acknowledges that this is a very challenging and frustrating time for everybody in trying to establish a new ‘normal’. She believes that we will all learn from this experience and will be able to use this to rethink the way we work, to understand what our priorities in life are and to appreciate the many things that we have taken for granted for so long.

Sue’s message to the University community is that we can be stronger together, supporting each other as we make our way forwards to face the further challenges that lie ahead. Stay healthy and keep safe.

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