Behind the Scenes with Team Nila : Covid-19 FET Operations, Keeping the Sport Sector Safe and Covid-19 Free
by Circle News, on Nov 17, 2021 5:43:14 PM
(Team Nila undergoing training before the start of operations. Photo by Ng Chrong Meng)
By Danielle Han
In the past three weeks, the Team Nila training room at Sport Singapore Headquarters has been repurposed as a call centre to support the Covid-19 Fast and Easy Testing (FET) operations for the sport and fitness sector.
Equipped with telephone landlines and laptops in safely distanced workstations, 30 Team Nila volunteers have been taking turns over two shifts daily, to call up sport and fitness businesses, coaches, and instructors to ensure that they have been keeping up with their weekly testing regime.
What appears to be a menial task on the surface is in fact an essential pillar supporting the evolving operations put in place to keep the sporting community safe from Covid-19. Primarily tasked with upkeeping test records, the volunteers’ frequent interactions with the sporting community have made them, the go-to touchpoint for those who have queries, or even complaints, about the FET procedures.
“The testing exercise is important for everyone’s safety, but instructions can sometimes change quickly and become unclear. When we make our calls, we are often asked for advice or assistance, and we will do our best to help them or point them in the right direction,” said Keh Eng Song, who has set aside Tuesdays to volunteer at the call centre.
(Team Nila volunteer Keh Eng Song at work. Photo by Ng Chrong Meng)
Li Lian, who has also taken leave to volunteer, shared that on a day-to-day basis, “you never know what questions you are going to get.” But the training and guidance provided by Sport Singapore staff has helped them adapt and respond effectively.
When SportSG put out the call for volunteers to assist with the FET operations, it was only a matter of days before all the slots were filled. This may seem counter-intuitive. After all, the core of Team Nila’s work lies in sport volunteerism.
Yet, this was unsurprising. Over the past two years, Team Nila volunteers have continued to support the community actively despite a reduction in sport events and programmes. True to its aim of being a positive driving force, they have represented the sporting community by contributing towards national causes such as mask and sanitiser distribution, fund raising, goodie bags packing, and even blood donation, several times on short notice.
When asked why he signed up for the FET operations, Eng Song shared, “I was curious about how these operations work. When I saw they needed help, I thought, why not? Setting this operation up has been very useful (for the businesses and SEPs). Most people we call appreciate our assistance, though there are one or two who mind when we call.”
Physical sport events are slowly making a comeback, and Team Nila volunteers such as Eng Song were recently out in full force supporting GetActive! PlayTime - a continuation of the earlier GetActive! Singapore campaign that had to take place virtually due to heightened safety measures.
Still, all hands are needed on deck to keep the sporting community safe and healthy.
“Many of us are eager to go back to our pre-Covid sport and exercise activities. By helping (in the FET operations), we play our part as sport volunteers to bring sport back safely and help the sector make a comeback,” concludes Li Lian.
Eng Song and Li Lian are both active Team Nila volunteers who have volunteered in events such as GetActive! Singapore and Pesta Sukan. Those interested in joining Team Nila may register as a Team Nila volunteer here: go.gov.sg/tnsignup