Jul 28, 2020, 07:00 AM

There have been very few ‘wins’ during the COVID pandemic, but at Citywide we’ve been blessed to be part of three government programs that have combined the public good with significant personal wellbeing.

While the past four months have been a time of high anxiety for millions of Melburnians, they have also brought out the best in many of our communities and businesses.

Citywide has got to know its home city better than at any time in our 25-year history – sending out 1,900 employees in an unprecedented ‘mass mobilisation’ to deliver sanitisation services and health information across Melbourne, while providing work for hundreds of people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic.

Since late April, more than 1,400 employees have walked more than 1.3 million kilometres, cleansing street furnishings, urban infrastructure, parks and playground equipment across nearly 6,000 km² of central, eastern and southeastern Melbourne.

In addition to the cleansing teams, another 500 people were contracted by Citywide to participate in the Department of Health & Human Services’ community engagement “doorknocking campaign” to deliver urgent clinical information about COVID-19.

The programs were part of a new direction for Citywide, which in a matter of days diversified from its traditional infrastructure maintenance work to manage the mass recruitment, training and supervision of an extensive workforce delivering vital community sanitisation and public health support services.

At the peak of the cleansing programs, the company was managing a workforce that had expanded from 1,000 staff to 2,500 people in various staff, contract and labour hire roles across 18 council areas.

Sarah Stubbs, who manages Citywide’s Customer Development and Tenders division and was closely involved in the mobilisation, says the programs – funded under the $500 million Working for Victoria Fund – showcased the company’s ability to mobilise large numbers of people quickly and effectively.

“It has had an amazing human element and has been one of the best projects I’ve ever worked on in terms of organisational pride,” said Sarah. “During the inductions, the entire management team had this sense that what we were doing really mattered. We were helping to flatten the curve in a global pandemic, whilst providing much needed employment for displaced workers.”

“The Working for Victoria initiative was delivered in Glen Eira with great positivity, pride, and an unflagging sense of humour in often difficult circumstances,” added Roger Dunn, the Works Depot Manager at Glen Eira Council, who supported Citywide’s managers and street teams in their work.

“As well as doing an important job for the public’s wellbeing, I don’t think you can underestimate the huge personal value that comes from giving a job to all these people who’ve suddenly lost their income.

"Members of the public may just see someone wiping down a park bench – what they don’t see is the sense of value and self-worth that comes from giving people a reason to get up in the morning.”

Citywide's large-scale mobilisation, cleansing and sanitisation programs – statistics
Citywide WFV mobilisation capabilities infographic

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Media Contact:
Simon Mossman - Group Corporate Communications 
M 0427 307 216