FURLOUGHED Manchester Airport workers have been supporting elderly Knutsford residents during the coronavirus lockdown.

Colleagues have been putting skills from their regular roles to good use, performing vital volunteer services in communities including Knutsford.

Among those benefitting are 50 elderly residents in Knutsford, whose annual Strawberry Tea Party had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Airport staff stepped in to deliver a goodie bag to their homes, including cake, tea bags and a ‘keeping well’ booklet to support those who are shielding.

Surplus items from the goodie bags were donated to the Hope Central food bank at The Welcome at Longridge.

The team also distributed ‘keep in touch’ postcards to hundreds of senior citizens in surrounding communities, with the offer of a phone conversation with an airport colleague if they wanted one.

Volunteers subsequently made more than 100 calls, with residents catching up on things they wanted to chat about, finding out about what was going on at the airport or being helped with problems they were unsure who to ask about.

Community relations officer Tina Large, who has co-ordinated the activity, said: “It has been heart-warming to see how many people came forward as soon as we put the call out for volunteers.

“Those who are volunteering tell us they see it as a privilege to be able to represent the business and do something for the community.

“The Strawberry Tea Party is an annual event our community relations team puts on for the elderly and socially isolated members of the community in Knutsford, and we were determined those people shouldn’t miss out entirely this year.”

Airport colleagues have been involved in a range of other community initiatives during the pandemic across Greater Manchester and north Cheshire.

The airport has partnered with airline catering company Alpha LSG to supply 3,000 frozen aircraft meals to food banks, schools and other organisations in communities next to the airport.

Andrew Cowan, airport CEO, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest challenge our business has ever faced, but we know it is also presenting significant challenges for those who live and work near the airport.

“That is why it has been pleasing to see so many of our colleagues wanting to do whatever they can to provide vital volunteer services when people need it most.”