Supporting our Community during COVID-19

Here at Coventry University we have been awed but not surprised at the amazing response from students, staff and local people across our communities. In a time where everyone has been affected in one way or another by Covid-19, community spirit and resilience has shined through.

Coventry University has been quick and active in our response to maximise our contribution to support our local communities, nationally and internationally.

Supporting our NHS..

..through our staff and students: CU Scarborough and Coventry campus students have joined the frontline as nurses and ambulance staff. A further 25 PhD students and research staff volunteered to help University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) expand Covid-19 testing.

..with our buildings and equipment: We have donated 400 pairs of safety goggles and 90,000 pairs of gloves to Warwickshire County Council's public health team for use in care homes and our teams are making 500 visors a week for the NHS along with 3D printed ventilator prototypes. We have also made the health simulation facilities in our Alison Gingell building available to train student doctors joining frontline staff.

Sophie Bassi posing with air ambulance in the background

  • Sophie Bassi is a Paramedic Science student and one of more than 50 Coventry University students to re-join the West Midlands Ambulance Service staff. She did her placement with them previously and was eager to re-join the team to help tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.

    “Being at home wasn’t an option and with the skill set I developed on my course, I knew I could be of use. I definitely had to join WMAS and assist them.

    It’s been absolutely manic but it’s going well and I have really thrown myself into the role. I’m trying to help out in other ways where I can too. I did a Vehicle Preparation Operative shift one night, which involves cleaning the ambulances. I cleaned 38 in one night and it has made me appreciate just how hard the people who clean the ambulances work so that we can get out there, do our job and help people.”

    At what is no doubt a challenging time for every frontline worker, Sophie says that the support from everyone around her has been superb.

    “I’m working alongside many Coventry University students, students from other universities and also people who used to work as paramedics who have re-joined frontline teams. Doctors, nurses and paramedics are all coming together in the fight against covid-19. We all have different experiences so it has been great to exchange advice and support now we’re all in the same situation.

    This truly is a life changing experience and obviously a terrible situation for everyone but as a student I have got to look at the positives where there are any, which is that this experience is making us all better clinicians and more prepared for when we qualify as paramedics.

    It makes me proud of the profession I have chosen and thankful of the support of all my student peers, NHS colleagues and the Nation getting behind us. It brings a smile to my face especially when I am on shift on a Thursday evening standing with NHS workers and seeing the support of the community with loud claps, cheers and smiles.”

Supporting our Community..

Woman giving another a massage volunteering locally: Staff and students across all campuses have volunteered to help local vulnerable groups with shopping and prescriptions, support foodbanks provide essentials to those in food crisis, and even volunteer virtually with groups across the country.

  • Tim Downing, a part-time lecturer in Marketing within the Faculty of Business and Law is volunteering as a driver for Coventry Foodbank, delivering food packages from the warehouse to the distribution centres around Coventry to support local people in food crisis.

    “It’s been a privilege to get involved with The Trussell Trust and it’s been great fun! From a personal point of view, it’s been a godsend; I’m a real fidget, and this has given me a valid reason to still get out and about!

    It’s extremely humbling when I do talk to members of the public at the foodbanks.

    Tim Downing

    There are some very dignified but very hungry people who, from no fault of their own, are desperately looking for support. This is why public donations of key food items are so vital, particularly in the current situation. In one of the distribution centres alone, they are giving out well over 500 emergency food parcels each week, so I can’t stress enough how grateful the foodbank is for public donations of tinned food and toiletries.

    However, there’s a real sense of camaraderie amongst the staff and the volunteers, and although the situation is constantly changing at the moment, everyone is pulling in the same direction”

    You can help to donate via your local supermarket or contact your local foodbank to volunteer.

Supporting Through Education

Our Widening Participation team are creating a safe environment online for pupils in care, in order to continue to provide vital support at this time. The interactive space will be tailored to their virtual asks, from careers they are interested in, to quizzes and useful tips in isolation. The team is also hoping to launch virtual Open Days to build on the successful launch of virtual campus tours.

Our Health and Life Sciences Faculty have developed three free online courses in a ‘Thrive at Home series’ to support those working remotely through the outbreak. You can access these on the FutureLearn platform.

Young people smiling while using their tablets

As part of our partnership with charity City Year UK, students on placement in local Secondary Schools have been supporting pupils’ by creating online sessions and digital spaces for students to learn and talk about their hopes and fears during these challenging times.

  • Coventry University Volunteer Mentors work with focus list pupils who are disengaged or struggling with school, to boost their confidence, grades and behaviour. Since schools have closed, they have had to adapt quickly to continue supporting pupils remotely.

    Georgina Sheldrake a Criminal Psychology student at Coventry University, is using technology to provide timely careers advice and support to her focus pupils.

    I primarily work with year 11's, so we have been meeting remotely and focussing on careers. We discuss options for sixth form or college, how to write CV's, presentation tips and interview techniques. We have also been sharing recipes and recommendations on books or TV to boost morale and take care of our well-being.

    The conversations we have had convey their nerves about sixth-form; they feel less prepared not having sat exams and are worried about the step up in workload and content within A-levels. It would have been easy for me to leave them to their own devices, but by still being there, my pupils do not feel abandoned and know they still have a support network.

    I am proud to still be supporting students and it's also keeping me connected to my placement. I am learning how to lead and mentor remotely, and find creative and innovative ways to communicate.

    Chris Trzebinski is studying Psychology and has turned to music to keep pupils engaged and make the most of lockdown to learn something new.

    I’ve been using Instagram to help students with their singer-song writing. I create ten minute videos to explain about song lyrics and music, then after each session I give pupils a task they can go away and practice themselves.

    Pupils share their lyric writing via emails and I have been giving them feedback and pushing them to improve their lyric writing. It has allowed them to try something new and keep them feeling connected despite the current challenges. Supporting pupils during these difficult times and helping them while we are all in isolation makes me feel proud of myself. I am excited for more students to get involved and would like to do it again on a different topic!

Get in touch

If you’re a member of staff or student at the university and are volunteering or working in the fight against Covid-19 or if you’re a member of the local community and you think there is a way we can assist you, we want to hear from you.

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