Published 14 March 2019
A receptionist who has welcomed visitors to West Dunbartonshire Council’s offices for the past 18 years has been named Employee of the Year.
Irene Stewart was praised for her ‘professional, fun and engaging personality’ as she helps assist residents, visitors and staff during nearly two decades at the front of house.
But her links to West Dunbartonshire Council go much further than that – as Irene grew up in the grounds of the former Council offices at Garshake.
Irene was just six when her dad Alexander Brown was given the first Council Officer job at Dumbarton County Council.
As part of his job, Irene’s family moved to a house in the grounds of Garshake.
Irene said: “I can clearly remember when Garshake opened, I got a tour and the Queen and Prince Philip visited. It was a beautiful building and it was full of plants, which is why I always had lots of them on my reception up there.
“When it came to working at the Council, I didn’t really have a choice – my dad told me that is where I was going. Everybody else worked in the factories nearby and made more money, but I got a job in the print room when I was 16. My first wage was £15.
“The Council has been part of my whole life, and it has been so good to us as a family.
“I love my job - this is what I was meant to do. Reception is a lovely place to be because you meet people of all kinds, and if you are nice to them, they are nice to you.
“This award means the world to me and my whole family. What a wonderful team we have in West Dunbartonshire Council.”
Irene was one of six winners at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, 12 March, at Clydebank Town Hall.
The awards recognise excellence in service delivery and thank staff members and teams who have made a real difference to the Council and our residents.
Also recognised was Carly McCallum, who was named Young Ambassador of the Year, for her work within early learning and childcare. She was praised for her excellent interaction with children and parents, as well as the way she represents her nursery.
The activity assistants at Crosslet House in Dumbarton – Veronica Loveridge and Colette McBride – received the Team of the Year award after working hard to keep residents active and happy by organising a varied programme of activities.
The Communities Award went to John Tweedie and Eddie Carti from Learning Disability Services who run the bus collecting service users. They were picked for the award for making the journey as fun as possible and for being respectful, helpful, and courteous of each individual.
Deputy Head Teacher of Clydebank High School, Wendy McInally, was named Team Leader of the Year, and was praised for her inspiring and energising attitude to raising attainment, and for making the school a real part of the wider community.
The Church Street Project Team – represented by Sharon Jump, Craig Jardine, Anne Gillard, Alison McBride, Mark Wrethman, Leanne Rea and John Martin - were given the Chief Executive’s Award for their hard work and dedication during the ambitious restoration project, which has benefitted Dumbarton Town Centre greatly .
A number of employees were also presented with certificates to mark their long-service, having worked for the Council for 25 years.
Joyce White, Chief Executive, said: “What a wonderful event honouring our fantastic employees.
“It was so inspiring to hear how so many go above and beyond every single day to ensure our residents get the best service possible.
“As Chief Executive, I am so proud of excellent work by dedicated staff and so thankful to get the chance to thank them personally and give them the recognition they deserve.”
The event was sponsored by CCG, CBC Stone, Oracle, Barr Environmental and Konica Minolta.