Having carefully considered the Government’s plans, the current level of Covid-19 measures in place in England and regional case rates, we are making make a few changes to arrangements for our offices, customer hubs and community centres.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had been monitoring customer visitor numbers at all of our offices and the numbers were very low and declining, especially in Bowes at Chester le Street, Hexham and Morpeth.
Our new approach to agile working has meant that our colleagues are now able to be out and about more in our communities and meet customers in their own homes and local areas, at their convenience, rather than customers having to come to us.
We’ve also invested in improving our telephone and digital based customer channels and provided more choice for customers to contact us. Recent research shows high satisfaction with these improved channels of communication.
All these factors combined show that there is now less and less need to have 'walk in' availability in our offices for customers.
We have therefore taken the decision to keep our Morpeth, Hexham and Bowes in Chester le Street offices closed for customers dropping in and we will no longer have a staffed reception. They will however be available for scheduled appointments with Karbon colleagues if a customer would like to come in and see us or if a customer wants to meet with us in an office environment.
Our offices in Gosforth and Greengates in Stanley will reopen for customer ‘walk-ins’ from Monday 4 October.
We will re-open our Hubs in Chester le Street and at the Spetchells Centre in Prudhoe to customers from Monday 4 October and work is underway to prepare for this and ensure it is Covid-safe for everyone.
Our Skills Hub in Stanley is already open and operational between Tuesday and Thursday 9am-5pm for the use of our Foundations for Life employability and skills team and other partners and teams. There is no reception, but the office is open for customers by appointment only.
We’re planning to re-open Holyoake, Crossfields and Merton Lodge community rooms on 4 October. We’re currently working to ensure the appropriate Covid-safe measures are in place for our customers to use these areas safely.
We’re currently reviewing our other community rooms and will open them where there is customer demand to use them.
We’ll continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about our offices, hubs or community rooms please don’t hesitate to contact us.