Updated: Aug 13
It is fair to say that 2020 has brought some real challenges to every part of every country and community all over the world however the way people and businesses have risen to those challenges has been nothing short of inspirational. From sewing enthusiasts providing masks, scrubs, face coverings and bags for those on the front line to businesses adapting their work forces and products to meet new needs and, of course, all of the groups providing essential support and care to their local communities during these unprecedented times.
At Norse Stone, we thought we had our year pretty much planned out. We had our healthiest order book ever, new machinery in place which we were going to use to produce a new Norse Stone product range and further development of our second quarry, Banniskirk. Our priority being the wellbeing of our team and their families, we tried changing working locations and patterns as the pandemic situation progressed to allow our plans and production to continue safely albeit at a potentially slower rate however all of these plans, along with other developments and operations we had planned or started, were put on hold when lockdown began. For the safety of our team, they were all placed on furlough leave except from our Managing Director, Michael Ronaldson, who continued working to provide a contact for customers and suppliers and maintain our quarries and plant.
As people were looking for projects to do at home, Norse Stone offered readily available stock products with free non-contact delivery at reduced prices to local customers. Using our new laser machine, we were also able to produce and supply 500 face shields which were distributed throughout Caithness, free of charge, to those who needed it including community groups providing meals for the vulnerable and staff at our local hospital. Material for the face shields were kindly donated by Norscot Joinery and we also received donations from G S Donn, Thor Accountancy, A & D Sutherland, Gows Aggregates, KW1CK Deliveries, Banniskirk Mains, O’Brien Construction and AJM Walling to assist with obtaining and distributing much need PPE throughout the county. We also helped to obtain 9000 masks for the Lybster and Tanach windfarm fund.
As lockdown restrictions have eased, we have been able to re-introduce our team back to work and re-start many of our projects and customer orders. Whilst we are pleased and proud that we were able to help our local community in some small way, there are so many others who also provided incredible support in a time of great need. Many of these include a wide array of local businesses and voluntary groups and we are very proud to have them within our local community. Finally, we feel we couldn’t possibly write this blog and not mention the wonderful staff in the NHS, care homes, supermarkets, schools, communications engineers and every single person who kept everything up and running as best as possible and kept us safe even if that meant potentially putting themselves in harms way. From the Norse Stone team, you are our lockdown heroes and we can’t thank you all enough!
Whilst we all try to find and settle into our new “normal” both at the quarries and within our communities, we just wanted to say a big thank you again to all our customers and suppliers as well for their patience and support. The pandemic unfortunately isn’t over yet but, together, we are making real differences and hope to be able to move forward with our plans to allow Norse Stone to continue to grow.