Staff from Clydebank’s Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel have shared their experiences of helping on the Covid front line.

As the urgent call for voluntary redeployment to the front line went out, staff from the hotel were quick to respond.

Before the pandemic Julie McCann, from Dalmuir, was the hotel’s health club attendant and fitness instructor, helping customers achieve their goals to living a healthy lifestyle.

As Covid hit the country last year, Julie went from working in the hotel to working in the catering department, serving customers food in the canteen and feeding the patients on the wards.

She decided to set up online yoga classes to help keep her local community in shape while stuck indoors.

The 46-year-old told the Post: “During this past year it’s been really difficult for people for lots of different reasons.

“Staying healthy has been a major challenge due to lockdowns and restrictions, but yoga is a perfect exercise that everyone can easily do and keep doing in their homes.”

Julie also offered chair yoga for older people who may have mobility problems and those recovering from operations or injuries.

She added: “Yoga is great for rehabilitation, flexibility, mental strength, helps make the body stronger and healthier and calms the mind. I think these benefits are exactly what people needed this past year.

“Before lockdown I was doing chair yoga classes in the hotel and they were really popular with older people in the community. The session was full every time so I knew I could build that up through online sessions too.”

Another staff member who answered the voluntary call was Margaret Young.

Previously a food and beverage supervisor, Margaret moved on to be a health care support worker in one of the area’s intensive care units (ICU).

“I’ve worked in the hotel since 2006,” she said.

“As supervisor, you’re busy all the time, talking to people, organising staff.

“In March of last year, it all started to become very quiet and lonely there, because there were fewer conferences and guests.

“I always wanted to be a nurse, and felt like this was the perfect time to be able to help people.

“I loved it in ICU, it’s completely different to what I’m used to, it allowed me to use a mixture of my hospitality skills and apply them to working with patients.”

Although initially worried about being thrown in at the deep end, Margaret was supported to take up her new role and has found that she can be involved in patient care on a whole new level.

As well as preparing equipment for the day, making sure the laundry is stocked up and making daily cleaning fluid, Margaret was also involved in regularly ‘rolling patients’.

She added: “Because the patients in ICU are in bed and sedated, they are not moving, so they need to be rolled every two hours.

“It was only stressful because I wasn’t used to it. Seeing people on machines which bleep constantly was all new to me. It couldn’t be more different from my work in the hotel.

“Everyone was really nice. I felt like I was part of the team and it was great to feel like I was helping patients with their recovery.

“It’s a good feeling. I didn’t want to leave the hotel – I love my job there – but the experience was amazing.”