The City of Liverpool College has donated the use of its main campus building, The Learning Exchange, to support North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) during the Coronavirus crisis.

Following increasing demand for space, the College offered its building for North West Ambulance to train new members of staff to deal with increasing numbers of 999 calls. NWAS has boosted its workforce to support the region throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing more than 450 new workers to the frontline in recent weeks in response to demand.

Dan Ainsworth, Strategic Head of Emergency Operations Centres, North West Ambulance Service, said:

“We are extremely grateful to The City of Liverpool College for allowing us to use their space to train up additional staff to handle emergency calls.”

An additional 187 staff are in place to handle 999 calls across the Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Preston emergency operations centres, while 150 additional NHS 111 clinicians, health and service advisors have joined the team at the Liverpool and Greater Manchester contact centres.

Recruitment and training of new starters is continuing in NHS 111, with 142 staff expected to have joined the service by August, ready to support members of the public with urgent health concerns.

Temporary training centres, including at the Learning Exchange, have been set up to help train the workers, which include student paramedics, apprentices, staff redeployed from other parts of the trust, and some agency workers.

In addition to this donation, staff at The City of Liverpool College have also been working hard to do their bit to support the NHS and key workers during the crisis. Milly Foster, Health and Safety Advisor at the College has gone above and beyond to support the region’s NHS staff.  Following a plea from Arrowe Park hospital on social media, Milly felt compelled to do what she could do help. Together with team members, Milly rounded up all of the much-needed personal protective equipment available at the college such as gloves and masks, across departments such as Hair & Beauty, Construction and Motor Vehicle, to be donated to staff at Arrowe Park Hospital.

Students have also been getting involved to do their bit. Lara Malone, who is currently studying on a UAL Extended Diploma in Fashion, has been putting her skills to good use and is making much-needed face masks, while Jing Ye, who is studying for an Extended Diploma in Art & Design is currently making scrubs to be donated to the NHS and frontline key workers.

Elaine Bowker, principal and chief executive at The City of Liverpool College, said:

“It’s an incredibly difficult time for everyone and it’s so important that we are able to support our NHS and key workers, in any way we can. We’re fortunate to have the facilities available to us, to be able to donate resources, doing our bit to help ease the pressure on the frontline.

“The facilities technicians on site have been brilliant, and have been there throughout closure keeping business critical functions running and making the donation possible.

“I’m so incredibly proud of the work that the staff and students at the College have been doing over the past few weeks, coming together to use their skills where they are most needed right now.”

Dan Ainsworth, added:

“Providing the right care to the people of the North West is always our number one priority and we knew from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we would need to be ready for an increase in demand on our service. Expanding our workforce in this way has allowed us to continue to help those who need us.

“Overall 60 learners received training at the college, all of which undertook a ten day training course to become emergency call handlers. By having the extra space available we were able to train staff more quickly and have as many new starters as possible ready to support in our emergency operations centres.”