From donating Easter eggs, running marathons, making PPE and looking out for those who are most vulnerable – here we share just a few of the highlights of the efforts that our SSP staff are making to support key workers and their local communities, during the COVID-19 crisis.
SSP Easter Bunnies spread joy to the NHS
Each year SSP sets aside some money from their main budget for a staff social fund. The money allocated for this quarter had been used to purchase Easter eggs for UK staff (prior to the lockdown). Mark Trapp, Facilities Associate, suggested that the eggs would be best donated to the NHS staff who are doing a remarkable job, whilst putting their own health at risk. So, over the Easter weekend, members of the SSP Solihull facilities team, Mick Powers and Lorraine Vaughan gave up their own free time to deliver eggs to their local hospitals – Good Hope and Heartlands. The staff at SSP are so delighted that their egg is now going to a fantastic cause – to keep Britain going.
Since we’re unable to do our usual chocolate egg desk drop at Solihull this #Easter, we’ve donated our eggs to the incredible NHS staff at @HeartlandsUHB and @GoodHopeUHB hospitals. Thanks to Mark Trapp, Mick Powers and Lorraine Vaughan who helped to make this happen. #NHSheroes pic.twitter.com/JBBK3ct9uq— SSP Limited (@SSP_Worldwide) April 9, 2020
Going further for healthcare providers…
On hearing that personal protective equipment (PPE), and specifically face shields, were in limited supply, Ankur Jain, Test Manager for India’s office had the ingenious idea of looking at how he could make these. He says: “making basic and effective face shields are so easy and cheap. So far myself and friends have made a few hundred and distributed them to the police, Indian Medical Council in my town and a government hospital this morning”.
Learn how to make face shields at home
What you’ll need:
- A4 (or bigger) size plastic sheet (should be a bit stiff and big enough to cover the face)
- Piece of foam to cover one’s forehead (or anything to give cushioning)
- Good strength double sided tape
- Elastic to go around your head
- Few staple pins
How to make:
- Place the double sided tape to cover 1 side of the plastic sheet
- Put the foam piece on the double tape, do ensure the piece of foam is 1 inch smaller than the length of the plastic sheet
- Staple elastic on both sides of the plastic
- We attached a sheet of paper on both sides of plastic sheets to maintain hygiene while distributing. The user tears off the paper from both sides after wearing the face shield.
He adds: “I hope this post motivates people to utilise a few hours of their time at the weekend. Please note – this is not a replacement for a mask, but an additional layer of protection, to prevent the virus from landing on to your face, eyes etc. This face shield can be reused by cleaning with a soapy solution or spraying it with a disinfectant on both sides.”
Amit Upadhya, Senior Software Engineer in India has also been busy: “From the day when lockdown started in India, some of the members from my residential society collected money from residents to cook food in a nearby temple. We are distributing these food packets to people in nearby slum areas, with full precaution.”
Scrubs bags for the NHS
Back in the UK, Becky Walker, Finance Associate from our Halifax office, has been busy making her vintage and retro fabric into scrubs bags to her local hospital. She’s been storing the fabric for years and after seeing a local appeal she has managed to put it to good use – 12 scrubs bags made for the wonderful NHS.
Going the distance for Overgate Hospice
Zane, the son of Zoe Ridley, SSP’s Head of Proposition and Product Development has been achieving great things since the Easter holidays. Zane, who is only 11 years old and his school were set a sports challenge to all collectively run the total distance of a marathon. Rather than just contributing to the distance Zane decided that he wanted to run the full distance himself and raise some money for Overgate, who are struggling like many charities to raise much needed funds as a result of COVID-19. Zane successfully ran 27 miles over 10 days finishing on the 16 April. His goal was to raise £200 and he’s nearly there, so for anyone you would like to support Zane and Overgate here is a link to his JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ZaneRidley
On #worldhealthday2020 7 April, Hannah Parson, Marketing Associate encouraged and reminded SSP staff that you can still continue to donate blood during the COVID-19 lockdown. NHS Blood and Transplant website advises that blood and platelet donation comes under ‘essential travel’ and they encourage people to keep attending – which is especially vital during this time of crisis.
Several SSP staff have continued to regularly give blood in their usual way, however, a special shout out goes to SSP’s Software Engineer, Gary Makepeace, who has reached his 80th donation. To find out more about how you can get involved, please visit www.blood.co.uk.
More volunteer work can be seen from Deborah Lyons, Project Coordinator and Petula Dale, Principle Consultant, who have signed up to the GoodSAM scheme. The platform is powering the onboarding and deployment of volunteers for the NHS in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. They will be helping local vulnerable people to drop off urgent medical supplies. You too can register via their website page at www.goodsamapp.org.
There have been numerous studies into the benefits to be gained from getting away from your desk on your lunch hour, with people benefiting both physically and mentally from doing so. Before the COVID-19, lockdown, Philip Richards, Product Consultant set up some ‘walk and talk’ sessions, with the opportunity to take advantage of those benefits – a chance to take a break from the stresses of the day, clear your head, have a wander and talk to like-minded people before coming back refreshed and reinvigorated.
He said: “Since the government announcement, I’ve been keeping this group running as a ‘& Talk’ group over Microsoft Teams in the same slot. Also, as part of Red Balloons’ work I’ve been involved in our other initiatives to help where we can. Such as, we have a well-being (closed) group on Facebook, offering a safe space. We’re now also offering a one-to-one ‘mentoring’ service, for extra support if people need it. Claire (the founder) has been doing daily exercise challenges live most days on Facebook to get people active”. If you want to know more about Red Balloons, please visit www.redballoons.org.uk.
From large volunteer projects to small acts of kindness…
An SSP spokesperson said: “It’s really bringing communities together, from local pubs making extra food for those who are vulnerable, to neighbours arranging weekly quiz nights to keep everyone entertained. Our weekly 8pm appointment to give thanks to the NHS staff and key workers has been one of the most emotional tributes within our village and it’s made us all really come together and appreciate what community spirit really is”.
Sam Allen, HR Specialist is helping keep her neighbour company. She says in her own words: “We have an old gentleman who lives in the basement next door on his own, his wife died 12 months ago. He likes a beer and the odd bottle of wine and his family do keep dropping him off shopping. But he looks ever so lonely so every day I make a point of going out and having a general chat over the fence, it’s not a massive input but I hope it makes his day a little brighter. He certainly seems to laugh at me (or with me). I even made him his own meat and potato pie the other night just so he didn’t have to cook for himself.”
Lucy Minton, Marketing Specialist, is currently on maternity leave, however, this isn’t stopping her efforts in helping those in need at the moment. Her growing children are in and out of clothes like there’s no tomorrow. So she is doing her bit and donating them to families less fortunate in her local area.
Keep up to date with all the amazing things our SSP staff and their families are doing to help support their local communities on our social media pages. If you have any support that you need during this time just get in touch via our contact page.