Council StreetCare officer called up to join northwest Army taskforce during pandemic

27 April 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council has redeployed a member of its StreetCare staff to allow them to play a key role in additional military support during the pandemic.

Neil Bowdler, Compliance and Development Officer for StreetCare has been an Army Reservist for over 30 years and has been called up to support army logistics in the North West.

Neil’s role will cover from Cumbria to Stockport to the Welsh border in a small team based at Army HQ North West in Preston.  The team has already been responsible for a number of Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) tasks, where the Armed Forces help local authorities when they ask for support.

Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said: “The Council is a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant and offers huge support to reservists.  Neil will be able to carry out vital work for the military for up to 12 months knowing that the Council, fully support him, and that his job is protected whilst he is away. 

“We’re all incredibly proud of the part Neil is playing during the pandemic and indeed that of all his colleagues who are carrying out StreetCare operations during very challenging times.”

Neil said: “Being an employee of Cheshire West and Chester Council brings with it a level of support that some of my army colleagues are envious of.  This gives me great peace of mind whilst I am carrying out my new role.

“My reservist career and my civilian career have been mutually beneficial.  Each part has helped me to develop professionally and personally and the skills are very much interchangeable. 

“Being called up means I can take some of that knowledge and experience to my new role and help the wider fight to beat this horrible virus. Am I nervous? When it comes to the virus, yes. It does not discriminate and can infect anyone. As long as we all maintain our social distancing, this will go a long way to beat it. I am relishing the new challenge and I am looking forward to my third operation as a reservist.”

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