University of Northampton Covid heroes gain award recognition

A team of Covid heroes from the University of Northampton has been recognised for going above and beyond the call of duty to help the community during the pandemic.

Colleagues from the Estates & Campus Services department leapt into action in March 2020, to organise the refurbishment of mothballed student halls of residence, which were reopened to house the vulnerable and key workers during lockdown.

The long hours the team put in meant the University was able to provide 500 rooms for healthcare staff and patients. Twenty six rough sleepers were also provided with accommodation, plus a handful of victims of domestic abuse. The story was covered by the BBC.

The team, which also provided a number of key support services for students and the community during lockdown, has been recognised with an award nomination from the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE). Colleagues will find out if they’ve won the Estates/Facilities Team of the Year category, on Thursday (15 April) evening, at the 2021 AUDE Awards.

Becky Bradshaw, Director of Estates & Campus Services, has been blown away by the team’s efforts during the pandemic.

She said: “The pandemic placed the team under immense pressure over the last 12 months. They stepped up to ensure our students and staff were safe and secure, while also offering incredible support to our wider community.

“We pride ourselves on having a team of people who are always willing to go the extra mile to support others, and it’s pleasing to see this effort has been recognised by the award nomination.”

The department was also instrumental in the set-up of a drive-thru public Covid testing centre and temporary medical assessment centre for people with Covid symptoms, on campus.

Catering was also provided for healthcare staff living in the University’s on-campus hotel, who were concerned about taking the virus home.

Students living on campus during lockdown were also looked after by the department, with the security team providing welfare support, responding to an increased number of mental health incidents and students in distress.

The University acted as a storage facility for the Red Cross when it needed a base to store food for delivery to vulnerable people across the county. This saw with several members of the team volunteering to pack boxes, while others helped in the testing centre or took Covid warden roles, to assist students and staff returning to campus.

It’s the second time the team has been recognised by AUDE – in the 2019 awards it was highly commended for masterminding and overseeing the University’s move from two campuses to the then-new Waterside campus.

The team’s exploits during the pandemic were also recognised with a Rose of Northamptonshire award, in January. The award, which was launched by the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire and Northamptonshire County Council, highlighted the team’s hard work and support offered to the University community and Northamptonshire.

The University has also been nominated for two further Aude Awards.

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