STAFF at sheltered accommodation in Royston, who have taken on additional shifts to combat the virus, have thanked local volunteers who helped make its VE Day celebrations special.

Westmeads, on Doles Avenue, has remained free from Covid-19 after staff began working seven days a week to keep residents safe during the lockdown.

The complex has 50 flats and seven bungalows, and residents have been encouraged to remain indoors until the risk has reduced.

Dawn Lomasney, who works at Westmeads, said: “It’s all quite a change but we’ve thankfully managed to keep Covid-19 out since the beginning and will hopefully continue to be.

“We’ve encouraged our residents to self-contain within their flats unless they’re doing their daily exercise where they remain in our grounds.

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“Our staff usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, however we have had to increase this to seven days a week.

“This was essential in the battle against coronavirus but staff have really risen to the occasion.

“Staff have actually been saying that it’s nice to come to work as it’s boosted morale and meant we can tackle this together.”

Workers and residents have remained socially distant since the outbreak, but Dawn said that remaining social is important.

“These are our long-term residents so we know everybody here really well, so it was just a case working together to adapt the best we could.

“We’re doing daily walkabouts everyday to check in with all our residents from the ground at a safe distance. “It’s a difficult and scary time for many, and isolation accelerates these things. So we encourage our residents to speak with us regularly.

The complex hosted its own 75th anniversary VE Day celebration which was possible thanks to the support of local volunteers around Royston.

“The community has really rallied around us, the Royston Community Watch group have really got involved and helped us stay afloat.

“We were able to carry out our plans for the residents as local performer Tom Sealey kindly volunteered to play some classics at a safe distance.

“We put a small post out last week asking for any local performers to come along and help entertain our residents on VE Day.

“We had so many volunteers and it was completely overwhelming. They had an amazing day and the residents loved it.

“I want to thank staff and the local volunteers for getting behind us.”