A Thanet PCSO has gone the extra mile to keep communities safe, by ensuring nothing is lost in translation during the pandemic.
When the Government introduced restrictions relating to Covid-19, PCSO Richie Pankhurst realised that for some of the international residents living in the ward he worked in, the messages were at risk of not getting through.
PCSO Pankhurst said: “I’ve worked in Cliftonville West for a year and I’m aware we have a very culturally diverse population here.
“Having spoken to many of the communities when out on my beat, I know some prefer to watch TV channels online which are in their own language and more familiar to them than British channels. As a result, a number of residents were potentially missing UK news and not seeing the important updates about the pandemic.
“To ensure everyone was getting the best possible information, I wanted to help educate residents about the rules here and thus encourage them to follow the guidelines.”
After some discussions with colleagues, PCSO Pankhurst came up with the idea of producing a multilingual leaflet, which summarised the guidance and could be handed out by local officers when needed to advise a person about staying safe.
His idea also attracted the support from staff at a local shop, who were happy to give their views on the messaging.
PCSO Pankhurst said: “Between them, the staff can speak 23 languages, so I wanted to ask for their views to ensure my translated statements were clear, regardless which version was read, and the meanings remained the same.
“The leaflet, which has been updated as restrictions change, has bitesize, easy-to-understand advice in English and the 15 other most commonly spoken languages in Cliftonville West.
“We have a duty to keep people safe and as a PCSO, it is important you find ways to ensure you are reaching out to as many people in your ward as you can.
“Some people have found the pandemic a very worrying time, so I hope having these leaflets available will help to reduce their anxiety.”