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    Mansfield is leading the national charge to get Britain back to work

    Mansfield gets back to work: Nottinghamshire market town has Britain’s highest percentage of workers to return to their offices since the lockdown was eased

    • Mansfield is leading charge to get Britain back on its feet by going back to work
    • Recording highest percent of workers to return to offices since lockdown eased
    • 40% had now returned to their desks, more than double national average of 17%

    After seeing the collapse of its mining and textile industries, Mansfield is in no mood to suffer another devastating blow to livelihoods from the coronavirus.

    The plucky Nottinghamshire market town is leading the national charge to get Britain back on its feet by going back to work, recording the highest percentage of workers to return to their offices since the lockdown eased.

    A report by the Centre for Cities charity found that 40 per cent had now returned to their desks – more than double the national average of 17 per cent. In London that figure is just 13 per cent.

    While Mansfield has so far seen remarkably low coronavirus rates, with only 370 cases in all, locals and business leaders hail the town’s ‘can do’ community spirit for the rush of returners.

    The town’s biggest employer, Linney, a marketing, printing and packaging firm, said it was delighted productivity was at 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Pictured: Miles and Charlie Linney of the town’s biggest employer, Linney, a marketing, printing and packaging firm

    Conservative MP Ben Bradley said many of his constituents – Mansfield has a population of just over 100,000 – were ‘chomping at the bit’ to resume their pre- lockdown lives. He said: ‘We should all be trying to get back to that as quickly and as safely as we can.

    ‘Mansfield certainly shows that it’s doable. There are powerful economic drivers behind that as well – town and city centres will suffer if people don’t return to the office. There just seems to be a huge sense of relief that things are moving back towards normal.’

    The town’s biggest employer, Linney, a marketing, printing and packaging firm, said it was delighted productivity was at 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

    Managing director Miles Linney, the sixth generation of the family to run the firm, said he was buoyed by the vibrancy of the office since the firm’s 1,100 staff began their return. He said: ‘It’s great. You can just see the whole place pick up. It’s vibrant again – everyone laughing and enjoying each other’s company.’

    Although staff have had ‘quiet encouragement’ to go to team meetings, some still work from home a few days a week, Mr Linney said. ‘The great thing about Mansfield folk is that they do actually stick their hand up and will offer to help out with different parts of the business. They can’t wait to get back to bounce ideas off each other.’

    Jono Edwards, who employs 234 staff at his seven restaurant and nightclub venues in Mansfield, hailed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme as a ‘phenomenal success — an absolute lifeline for our food businesses’.

    He said: ‘Mansfield is a very resilient town and there’s a very strong community spirit. In times of crisis, people do stick together.’

    Malcom Hall, owner of family-run store Hall-Fast Industrial Supplies, set up a new business during lockdown selling masks and safety gear. It raised over £3,000 for the NHS, donating £1 for every mask sold.

    ‘We worked 16-hour days, sometimes seven days a week, to get products in place to help businesses get their staff back to work,’ said Mr Hall. ‘Mansfield is sometimes a misunderstood place. It’s full of hard-working and diverse businesses. Perhaps the fact Mansfield has had setbacks in the past – from the miners’ strikes to the decimation of the textile industry – maybe they’ve learned the way to get through things is to diversify and, to be frank, work bloody hard.’ 

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