People Powered is a collective of freelancers from across the entertainment and live event industries who came together to help the NHS and other frontline services after their diaries emptied because of the coronavirus.
The organisation was started by two lighting designers, Katharine Williams and Jono Kenyon, who wrote an open letter to the NHS about how we could help relieve pressure on services and aid with flattening the curve. You can read it here.
Our 1000+ members have helped all across the country using skills and ingenuity honed building festival infrastructure and producing live shows to provide structures and spaces quickly and effectively, and sourcing equipment from outside the NHS’s usual supply chain to provide solutions to challenges hospitals are currently experiencing.
How we have been #HereToHelp
Walkie-talkie radios allow staff to communicate between COVID and non-COVID spaces about treatment plans, and this reduces the amount of PPE staff require and provides real, tangible help.
We sourced numerous walkie-talkie radios and placed them with hospitals across the country at: Homerton, Lewisham, Barts, NW University Hospital, the Royal London, Great Ormond Street, Taunton and Somerset hospital, the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, and 10 midwifery units across the West Midlands, including the Royal Wolverhampton, University Hospitals Birmingham, Sandwell and West Birmingham and Walsall Manor.
FOOD BANKS & STAFF SHOPS
Easy access to food and supplies for key workers has been vital. We’ve set up free shops at the Royal Free Hospital and sourced additional fridges and freezers which allowed NHS staff to pick up essentials and fresh food and veg without facing the supermarkets and potentially empty shelves.
We’ve also supported events catering companies in repurposing into food banks, by providing them with queuing systems to maintain social distancing.
With every spare inch of hospital space being utilised to expand capacity, creating breakout areas to give doctors, nurses, porters, and cleaners a place to take a moment to themselves was incredibly important.
Inventive solutions were often required: we placed a tour bus at Lewisham hospital to create a break zone for hardworking NHS staff, converted a gym into a rest area, and created a number of Wellbeing Spaces for staff to take a moment for themselves when it was most needed.
Increasing capacity was key to meeting need and our team built and arranged structures to help, including a triage and isolation unit at Stoke Mandeville, marquees for queuing at Kingston hospital, and a pop-up testing station in Kent.
Often, we delivered structures much more quickly than traditional contractors, including building over a weekend or out-of-hours, with teams compliant with regulations including CDM.