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Author: Giles Turnbull

Reflecting on the 365 days since the country went into lockdown.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of lockdown in the UK. While some restrictions were occasionally lifted, March 23rd, 2020 to March 23rd, 2021 has been a year like no other.

Many people have sadly lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving us to mourn the loss of family and friends. Many of our business partners and friends, especially across the hospitality and events industry, have had to manage enormous impacts on their businesses and their staff, some even closing their doors permanently.

Today, at Gallowglass Security, we have reflected on the past year. All those the country has lost and all those businesses that will not be opening their doors again.

The challenge of the COVID-19 virus has brought out the best in a lot of people. The pandemic and other people’s suffering has seen individuals, businesses, charities and governments work together. We have been lucky to partner with some of those organisations and individuals. As we have reflected, we have thought about the amazing work of some of those organisations and individuals and how their actions made a difference.

Helping the homeless

Special praise must be given to those that helped the homeless throughout the pandemic. Numerous charities and partners came forward to support these often-maligned individuals.

Hotels lent their empty rooms while governments and charities paid the bills, making it all possible. We were fortunate to support Crisis, the GLA, St Mungos and Westminster Council throughout the pandemic and see the impact of their work.

All these organisations deserve immense credit for being relentless in raising this issue in the public and political consciousness and making it happen.

The testing and vaccination centres

In the early stages of the virus’s spread, testing centres were set up across the country to understand the virus and how it was transmitted. In more recent months, vaccination centres have been popping up, helping with the remarkable roll-out of the vaccination program.

The individuals, volunteers and the local governments behind this roll-out, fulfilling the testing and vaccinations, deserve huge credit. We have seen their efforts firsthand in Lambeth. The individuals undertaking the testing have put themselves in harms way to ensure the health of others.

While we were working with them, we became greatly aware of the selflessness of the individuals who conducted the testing and administered the vaccine. They worked tirelessly to get the virus under control and deserve great praise for their ongoing efforts.

Security personnel

When reflecting on the past year, we have often thought about our staff, the wider security sector and the individuals within it. A large amount of our industry’s work went with the lockdown.

However, when many of us were working at home, keeping ourselves and our families safe, those within the security sector continued working.

For our part, our staff have selflessly gone about their jobs, supporting clients and customers throughout, often putting themselves in harms way against a hidden virus.

While many of the security industry may be overlooked, we believe they deserve great praise for their efforts throughout the crisis. Whether they were protecting vaccination centres, hospitals, empty office buildings, people’s homes, businesses or the homeless, they went to work every day to protect others and what matters most to them.

Meet Jaco Nieuwoudt; Head of Regions, Partner, Security Expert, Chef, Curer of meats, Rugby Player,BBQ enthusiast

Gallowglass Security’s Head of Regions and Partner, Jaco Nieuwoudt, has been with us since 2003, after flying over from Pretoria, South Africa, where he was born.  

Although a proud South African, Jaco left the Rainbow Nation to fly over to the UK 18 years ago, at the age of 21, swapping the high veldt of South Africa for the Dales of Yorkshire, via London.   

Now living in West Yorkshire, with his family, Jaco manages all Gallowglass Security’s major event security, regional security services and acting as our client’s and partners point of contact across the Midlands and the North, often playing a hands-on role.   

Jaco and John with Sir Ranulph Fiennes

For those that have met Jaco, it will come as no surprise that he was a keen rugby player and a big presence on the pitch, let alone a Security site. As a young man, Jaco played for the first mixed race school in South Africa, CR SWART, as a Prop or Lock. When he flew over to the UK, he was quick to pick up his boots and join Ilford Wanderers Rugby club in London, but due to the nature of our work, he had to quickly hang them back up, as his reputation for delivering excellent security services started to grow.  

Historic moment- Stuart Rae’s (front row left – Solicitor/Partner) last game of rugby

Starting as a Security Steward in 2003, Jaco’s eye for detail, eagerness to go above and beyond and exceptional client service led him quickly up the Gallowglass Security ranks; becoming a qualified trainer (PTLLS), a certified bailiff and creating Gallowglass Security’s unique and highly adaptable in-house training portal for all security personnel joining the company.   

During his time as a Crewing Manager, our clients were quick to request Jaco’s presence and support for their events and security projects. This led Jaco to often travel the country at the client’s request to support some of Gallowglass Security’s most prestigious events partners, ensuring an excellent level of security service was delivered.  

As a result, we knew we couldn’t keep Jaco in our headquarters and realised that the best way to serve our most active regions and give our clients what they wanted, was for Jaco to be closer to the clients and growing Gallowglass Security’s regional practice.  

Glasgow’s Cadbury’s spots and stripes tour

Since taking over the practice, our regional offer has gone from strength to strength; offering more services to a broader range of clients. Jaco is successfully navigating the trials and tribulations of an ever-changing market and our client’s demands, providing excellent service, and ensuring that the team are quick to deploy at a moment’s notice.   

When Jaco is not setting up your security detail, evicting trespassers, managing our team of 80 security experts and answering client queries and questions, he can be found in the kitchen or at the barbecue with his family. Like a true South African, he loves to barbecue large pieces of meat over a low heat for a long time. Alongside this, he can often be found curing different meats and making traditional South African Biltong and boerewors. It will come as no surprise to anyone then that when asked what his favourite Gallowglass Security event was, Jaco was quick to reply, “Foodies Festival!” 

Like all of us, Jaco is looking forward to the return of events and festivals up and down the country. In order to bring this about, he is working closely with Petar Petrov, Head of Health and Safety, to advise clients on how to prepare for the new normal. If you are interested in hearing how Jaco is preparing for event security in the age of COVID and what we can do to help, be sure to contact him and he will only be too happy to answer your questions.  

Gallowglass Security – Regions – Security outside the Capital

Gallowglass Security, although headquartered in London, has operated a successful regional security program across the country for over a decade, from North East, North West, Yorkshire and Birmingham to the South of England through to Bristol and down to Cornwall.

Gallowglass Security’s regional practice is over ten years old and led by Gallowglass Security’s Head of Regions, Jaco Nieuwoudt, from his offices in West Yorkshire.

Jaco Nieuwoudt with his trusted 2nd in command John Griffiths
Jaco Nieuwoudt with his trusted 2nd in command John Griffiths

Running a team of up to 80 guards, Jaco has been helping to deliver all Gallowglass Security’s core practices outside of the capital for over a decade, even before he became a Partner and Head of Regions.

COVID-19 has changed the type of business Gallowglass Security is working on, but despite the restrictions the phone continues to ring with new requests and a burgeoning client list, across the company’s business units of Property Security, Events Security and Enforcement.

Jaco said: “Prior to COVID-19, we were undertaking a lot of promotional roadshows with major brands and securing festivals and public events for our clients across the country.  More recently we have been working with clients to secure their properties, evict trespassing travellers and undertake VPIs to ensure vacant properties are not being damaged or falling into disrepair.”

Gallowglass Security has been proud to work with Tough Mudder since 2012 across 12 of their events a year; however, during COVID-19, these security guards have re-skilled and utilised their experience to support clients across a range of eviction and property related security services.

Tough Mudder

Despite the challenges, the regional security team have adapted. Jaco continued: “We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt, our professional, above and beyond approach and our ability to deploy quickly. Client’s are having to adapt quickly under stressful circumstance, which is why we adapt quickly with them. Providing a reassuring, proactive, professional security presence is critical to curing client’s security concerns.”

Utilising Gallowglass Security’s significant Property Security experience, they are now working with a large number of commercial building owners. The types of buildings Gallowglass Security are protecting, include warehouses, commercial property, such as shops and trading estates for estate agents, business owners and administrators, offering VPIs, manned guarding, key holding and alarm response.

Jaco said: “I have always loved the events side of the security business and a personal favourite, as a keen cook, was Foodies Festival. We love seeing the competition and camaraderie at events like Tough Mudder, the joy at The Big Feastival and the energy at all the music festivals we support. We cannot wait to have them back and support them again. However, in the meantime, our skills and training programs have allowed us to adapt and attack the challenges our clients face today, across the country.”

Tudors on Tour

For those that are looking for security solutions, whether it be related to estates and properties, enforcement or events, contact Jaco and his team.

LEAVE IT TO ME I’LL TAKE CARE OF IT!

Amr Fadl 50, is Gallowglass Security’s Service Delivery Manager. His input has been crucial in establishing the very high levels of Customer Service throughout the Company with a particular emphasis on front of house for both Commercial and Residential properties.

Born in Cairo from a family established in the Egyptian Film industry, Amr gained a degree in Accountancy from Cairo University, before performing a years National Service in the Egyptian Army’s Pay Corps.

Married with two sons, Amr moved to London in 1994. He entered the Hotel Industry, swiftly ascending the ranks from casual waiter at functions, to joining the Concierge Department of the Royal Garden Hotel in 2003. Simultaneously to working full time, he pursued his childhood passion for Art and Photography by gaining a BA (hons) degree in Art at Surrey University in 2001.

Prior to joining Gallowglass, Amr also worked as a Concierge at the Montcom, Ritz and Brown’s Hotels. His mature, calm and professional demeanour made an immediate impact on both colleagues and clients. His remit swiftly expanded to bringing five star hotel concierge levels of service, to all Gallowglass front of house assignments. Engendering trust and confidence, he applies the Concierge motto of “Leave it to me, I’ll take care of it”. Whatever the need or request, like a swan, he carries out his tasks in an apparently effortless manner.

Asked about the key elements in delivering peerless customer service, Amr said: “All too often training for customer service roles within the security industry entail a box ticking exercise which fail to address the most important aspect, which is the human element.

Time must be given to each individual deployed. It is essential to get to know them, engage with them and help them be the best they can be. staff must not only fully understand the technical and process elements of the task, but go so much further. The key to customer service lies in the attitude of the staff. I am looking for people with the right attitude, above all I am looking for genuine empathy. With this bedrock of character, front of house personnel can be taught and developed to manage clients and visitors. Be approachable, friendly and helpful, but never cross the line into familiarity. All people are individuals and front of house staff must understand this, and should be capable of a nuanced approach to customer service.”  

As part of the continuous development plan of all Gallowglass security personnel, along with more specific subjects such as fire-marshall, Covid training and diversity training, customer service is one of the pillars of Gallowglass Security’s offering.

Besides his sterling contribution to Gallowglass Security, Amr still finds the time for his art and photography. Over the years he has exhibited in many private galleries as well as Olympia and Chelsea Town Hall. Below are some of his works and much more can be seen on his website www.amrfadl.art.