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Bernicia estates maintenance operative Darren Bell is a welcome and trusted figure in the Berwick community after just four months in his new role.
His work clearing communal areas of litter and graffiti and keeping grassed areas clean and tidy on housing estates with Bernicia properties, has quickly established him as a popular member of the community.
Darren is the newest addition to Bernicia’s ten-person strong estates maintenance team covering areas from Berwick in the north to Redcar in the south.
They are the public face of Bernicia every day, meeting tenants, helping out where they can and reporting bigger property issues back to the central Bernicia team or relevant local authority to tackle.
Darren, 28, said: “I’m based in Berwick, but cover Cornhill, Horncliffe and Norham as well, but if there’s any other jobs outside my area, I’ll go and help the lads as much as I can.
“The majority of the work is outside, making sure places are tidy for folk getting into their cars. I do litter picking, grass cutting, weed spraying, sometimes removals, empty garages – just last week we did a job for a vulnerable person to take a cooker and washing machine across to their house.
“I love it, I really do, I’ve been here four months but it feels a lot longer because I’ve settled in really quickly.
“I get a lot of reaction from the public who notice the difference with the litter picking. I get a lot of positive comments from people, pleased because they say they’ve never seen anyone doing the job before and they really appreciate it.
“I try to help out as much as I can. I know the area pretty well, I’m a local boy – you are basically your own boss, I’ve got my own routine now going around Berwick, which I really like.”
Darren’s estates service team leader Mel McKee said: “Darren is an asset to Bernicia. He completely understands what we do as an organisation and he’s had nothing but compliments from our tenants.
“He’s someone who takes responsibility, he’s honest, trustworthy and efficient and goes out of his way to help people. He understands local people and the areas they live in and they really appreciate that.”