Helen McConnell, Public Liaison Officer

As someone who enjoys meeting new people, I really enjoy my role engaging with residents and businesses.

Working for FM Conway, the lead contractor on the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project, it’s my job to identify and engage with the people and organisations located near these vital works. I act as a primary point of contact, keeping people updated and answering questions that may arise.

I do this by getting out and about, walking around Rochester and Strood introducing myself to people and visiting businesses. I’m also available by phone (07917 518529) or email, and I’ll be putting together a newsletter, providing updates about what is happening and when.

Minimising disruption to the public is a key part of the refurbishment programme, and I believe keeping people as informed as possible will help. Yes, we have this website, but not everyone has access to the internet, and so going out and talking to people is really important. I personally am much more likely to be patient if I know why disruption is happening, so I hope my work will help others understand why this refurbishment is needed.

One of the challenges I’m anticipating relates to that last element. We have a carefully planned programme of works but experience tells me things can change very quickly and are often subject to elements beyond our control. If or when such an occurrence happens I’ll be doing my best to make sure everyone knows what has happened, why, and what that means. It’s important to me to be approachable and honest, and I hope people will see that as we get to know each other.

In my spare time I’ve recently taken up yoga and I read a lot – but not at the same time!