As we navigate our way through these unprecedented times, we turn to one another for hope and support.
Our valued member venues have been helping their local communities in significant ways, from lighting their landmark buildings blue in honour of the NHS to donating protective equipment and opening their grounds to those on the front line.
Here are some of our unique venues showing their support and opening their doors to those in need:
Since early April, the British Library has been showing its support for the NHS, carers and key workers by lighting up its St Pancras Clock Tower in blue every evening. Elizabeth Walker, Senior Events Manager, says: “It’s a lovely beacon of blue every evening to show our support for all those helping to fight the pandemic, until life returns back to normal.”
As the British Library is currently closed, the lighting up of the Clock Tower has only been made possible through the joint efforts of its wonderful Estates and CBRE Maintenance teams.
Harrow School borders the site of Northwick Park Hospital, the main hospital covering the London Boroughs of Brent and Harrow. This NHS Trust was one of the first to be significantly impact by coronavirus so it was essential the venue responded rapidly to offer emergency accommodation on the school site, as well as use of the Sports Centre for medical facilities if required.
Its staff remained on site over the Easter holiday period and have been making and distributing hundreds of protective visors in the Design and Technology department.
Thousands of face masks and a large volume of hand sanitiser, goggles, gloves, protective suits and aprons have been delivered. All available PPE on the School site has been passed on and parents have been sending in more equipment to support local services. The school’s fleet of minibuses have also been offered to the local Council, NHS, carers and charities.
In association with Lord’s, the MCC Foundation launched an emergency appeal to provide meals for the most vulnerable residents in Westminster, in particular 450 homeless living in temporary hostels. MCC Members and MCC Foundation supporters have raised over £32,000, which will fund at least 9,600 meals.
In addition, Lord’s has donated surplus food and bottled water to help those who are homeless and currently waiting for accommodation in Westminster.
The venue is also maintaining a dialogue with Westminster City Council and the various hospitals based near Lord’s to help them utilise the Ground for the good of the community.
It is currently providing 75 parking spaces for the staff at Wellington Hospital, University College Hospital and the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth. This allows medics on the front line to safely get to work without using public transport. Wellington Hospital is also utilising the ample space that the Ground provides for storage.
In London, the ancient buildings of the Order of St John are turning blue every Thursday evening in support of the NHS. St John’s Gate in Clerkenwell has been a beacon of care in the community for almost 900 years and since 1874, from its historic home in the city St John has expanded its healthcare mission across the world.
In response to the current emergency, St John Ambulance volunteers are working shoulder to shoulder with the NHS, supporting more than 50 hospitals, providing ambulance transport throughout the country and training thousands in how to respond to coronavirus.
The museum’s highly trained volunteers are at the heart of communities nationwide, providing care where it is needed most – just as they have always done in times of crisis.
The lighting installation is sponsored by Light Motif, one of the museum’s venue hire partners.
The Royal College of Physician’s (RCP) iconic Grade 1 listed building and award-winning conference centre in Regent’s Park has been lit up in blue to honour our wonderful NHS.
The spread of COVID-19 has impacted conferences and events everywhere, including RCP, and the venue wanted to show its support for the NHS and its physician members as they care for patients during this pandemic.
RCP has been prompted to think ahead to expand its client offering and together with its talented in-house Audio Visual and Media Services team, it now has a range of virtual event solutions to keep clients connected during this time.
The lights at Royal Hospital Chelsea in the Wren Chapel and Great Hall have been glowing blue in support of the NHS since the end of March.
The Chelsea Pensioners and Royal Hospital Staff, both onsite and at home, are proud to show their thanks and gratitude to NHS workers across the country, applauding every Thursday at 8pm.
The Queen's House in Greenwich was lit up in blue and as a rainbow in support for the NHS during a recent #clapforcarers. It stayed lit for the duration of the evening and will also be lit up during the next #clapforcarers.
Ash Event Productions provided the lighting display as we all come together to support our health workers.
Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG), which is made up of The Queen's House, Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, have also found a way to help the NHS fight coronavirus. They’ve collected some boxes of protective equipment from the storeroom, and have shipped them out to local NHS trusts in order to help protect doctors, nurses, and support staff working on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak. The protective equipment is usually used by the conservation team but RMG are happy they can be donated and used for a more urgent cause.
Makerversity, based at Somerset House, is playing its part in the effort to combat COVID-19. It has become a 3D printing hub for PPE as part of SHIELD – Sustainable Hub for Innovation, Execution, Launch and Distribution. Energised by the acute need of NHS staff and frontline key workers exposed to Covid-19, the community is leading a micro-manufacturing effort out of its space at Somerset House to provide desperately needed Personal Protective Equipment.
Makerversity aims to generate 1,700 visors per day from 3D printers, funded by non-profit organisation HEROS whose ‘Help Them Help Us’ initiative supports the physical, mental and day to day needs of NHS staff across the nation. Leader of the Makerversity effort Nate Petre, said: “I felt like Makerversity, a space filled with tools and the members enormous creativity could help the government create useful solutions to the growing crisis."
The Design Museum is thinking of our inspirational NHS staff and key workers across the country and have lit the building blue to celebrate and thank them for their outstanding work to keep us all safe.
The museum is proud to be partnered with thoughtful event companies proactively starting and joining inventive initiatives to assist key workers during this challenging time, from feeding the NHS to teaching culinary skills to encourage us all to stay home.
Last month, the world-famous Tower of London, one of six venues cared for by Historic Royal Palaces, joined in with the national campaign, Light it Blue, to demonstrate a public display of thanks to the NHS and the courageous efforts of our nation’s healthcare professionals.
With the support of creative event production agency Event Concept, existing LED technology was used to create the spontaneous flash of blue which illuminated the White Tower to ensure the campaign adheres to the critical message from the British Government to stay at home.
The Tower of London and Historic Royal Palaces are proud to be part of this mass gesture of solidarity, and to show heartfelt gratitude to all those working so tirelessly to beat the current COVID-19 crisis.
With people up and down the country clapping in support of NHS workers, Twickenham Stadium's turf has been marked with a message of appreciation for those on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rugby Football Union's Chief Executive, Bill Sweeney, said: "There are no crowds at the Home of England Rugby right now but the sound of a nation applauding the NHS workers is as loud as any rugby crowd. We wanted to add our heartfelt thanks on behalf of the rugby community and pay tribute to all of our NHS heroes.”
A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is also open at Twickenham Stadium for key workers and NHS staff. The site sits alongside a rapidly expanding network of testing sites being set up around the UK, and is operating on an appointment-only basis for NHS staff and other key workers.
This follows the launch of the Government's partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rollout of the network of new labs and field testing sites across the UK.
This network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests - which are used to identify if you currently have the virus - for critical key workers, starting with NHS front line staff. This means those who test negative for coronavirus can return to work as soon as possible, and those who test positive are able to recover.