Despite being at high risk from Covid-19 due to his type 1 diabetes, IT technician Andrew Haworth has toiled tirelessly since March to help support co-workers and the thousands of people who rely on Making Space’s services.
Additional responsibilities taken on by the busy field IT technician include delivering food parcels and PPE around the country. Services he has visited include residential homes and independent hospitals.
Andrew, who has worked for the adult health and social charity for three-and-a-half years, says he has covered 45,000 miles since the start of the pandemic. In a more usual year, his work mileage would be closer to 10,000.
The 42-year-old hasn’t always worked in social care. Andrew started out as a welder fabricator for BNFL, but after four years, was looking for a change. Since retraining in IT, he has also worked for GP practices and an NHS Trust.
Andrew is now part of the five-strong IT department at Making Space, which has its headquarters in Warrington, Cheshire. The team, under head of IT Chris Mizzi, supports over 950 staff at 150 nationwide services.
Chris says that whereas pre-Covid, new device builds and hardware issues were shared between Andrew and two service desk analysts, now he is performing all hardware-related work on his own.
“He’s brought most of the spare kit home and any new orders are shipped directly to his home address. This is in addition to going onsite to resolve issues that cannot be handled remotely,” he says.
“Despite being at high risk of Covid complications himself, Andrew has been regularly working 14 hour days, putting the health of co-workers and the people we support above his own.
“He has been adamant to not only continue his work but also to take on additional responsibilities.”
It’s been a year that has seen the importance of well-functioning IT systems truly come to the forefront. Which a large percentage of the workforce working from home, and Zoom calls replacing much face-to-face communication, the pressure has been on. Andrew says balancing his time between deliveries, ordering equipment and onsite repairs and making sure that he keeps everyone he comes in contact with safe has not been easy.
However, Andrew says he thrives on the challenge and wants to continue working in health or social care environments, as it is helping people, and seeing the direct results of his input, that makes his job satisfying.
He says the highlight of his year was distributing much-needed PPE around the Making Space services in the early days of the pandemic.
“It was a matter of life and death,” he says, “and I prioritised it above all else even though it is nowhere in my job description.”
Andrew, who lives in Cleveleys, near Blackpool, is in the running for two Great British Care Awards – ancillary worker and social care Covid hero.
And according to his boss Chris, regardless of which nominee the judges select, Andrew is always a winner in his book
“I don’t think there are enough hours in the day for Andrew to do more, but if there were, I’m sure he would!
“He is easily approachable and he is always quick to help or offer advice. He has a gentle humour, an empathetic manner and time for everyone. He has a huge amount of professional pride in his work and every job he does is completed to perfection.
“IT is the backbone of every health and social care organisation and Andrew’s dedication – which goes well beyond his job description – has kept us connected throughout a difficult year.”