Community and local need were at the core of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We sat on the Major Incident Community Leadership Team convened by Coventry City Council and directly reached out to provide support.
Early on in the pandemic, we distributed our surplus food to local food hubs and offered fridge and freezer space to the Coventry Emergency Food Network. We helped get Canley Food Hub up and running through staff volunteering, transport and financial support.
We donated PPE to the NHS, manufactured hand sanitiser and 3D printed face shields abd and made our laboratories available to support Covid-19 clinical laboratory work. We set up a Lateral Flow Testing site on campus and gave advice to schools and business, loaning kit when there were shortages for community testing. We also put in place our own NHS Test and Trace facility.
Businesses struggled during the pandemic and WMG supported businesses to pivot their products through sharing their insight, knowledge and expertise and networks. One example is how WMG supported the delivery of the Ventilator Challenge UK, a consortium of industrial, technology and engineering businesses who came together to produce medical ventilators for the UK.
We had students and staff volunteering in the local community and shared our knowledge and expertise. Medical students and staff worked to support the NHS and local community with over 500 working in our local hospitals at the height of the pandemic and over 350 working as Covid-19 vaccinators and testers.
Significant numbers of our students also worked as part of several national clinical trials, including the REACT-2 & REACT GE trials, and supported testing and vaccination trial activity led by local NHS partners. Some of our laboratory facilities were also converted to Covid 19 PCR testing facilities and two medical students led a project called Patient Connect, which was a multi-partner initiative enabling patients unable to receive visitors to connect virtually.
We are a partner in the the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory in Leamington Spa which opened in July 2021. The lab is one of the centrepieces of UK’s future test and trace infrastructure and will play a key role in responding to new variants of concern and future disease threats.
Our researchers helped us better understand and respond to Covid-19 from conducting clinical trials, to advising government, to examining the impact on air quality and environment. They continue to conduct pioneering research and offer expert insight into how the pandemic has affected our lives.
We were a key part of the WMCA/Midlands Engine Thrive at Home programme which provided wellbeing information to organisations and their employees across the Midlands.
To support the struggling Arts and Culture sector locally we partnered with Coventry University to fund 18 local artists and creative organisations to collaborate with our researchers to create novel artworks showcased in a special digital exhibition in conjunction with the Coventry City of Culture Trust - Coventry Creates.
During lockdown, we provided free online fitness classes from our Sports and Wellness Hub.
We pulled together a list of online education resourcesLink opens in a new window to support parents, children and teachers through the adjustment to Covid-19 home schooling. People from across Coventry and Warwickshire, the UK and the world have reached out to tell us how useful it continues to be – so we've kept it online.