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DMU cleaning staff volunteer to work at Leicester hospitals during COVID-19 crisis


Cleaning staff from De Montfort University (DMU) are supporting the NHS during the COVID-19 crisis by swapping campus for the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI).

Following a call-out for extra cleaners from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL), five DMU cleaning staff have stepped forward to help support the NHS in their hour of need.

Leicester's hospitals have thanked the staff and said 'they are a credit to the university'.


The group are set to help to keep wards clean and assist with administration tasks while the hospital deals with the increase in patients during the COVID-19 crisis.

Among the volunteers are full time cleaning supervisors, Kelli Burns and Tina van-Riel

Kelli said: “Usually, I work as a fulltime cleaning supervisor at DMU. When we found out the NHS needed support I volunteered to go. I have offered to do cleaning or admin. I do both of those in my role anyway.

“We didn’t have to do it. I Just wanted to help, I am fit and healthy, and I don’t see why I should just sit at home. I can’t remote supervise a cleaning team that are not at work, so I just wanted to do something to help and be involved.” 

Tina van-Riel said she had her own reasons for volunteering.

CLEANING Tina Van Riel

She said: “In my current job at DMU I am a cleaning supervisor. I love the people I work with. We are like one big DMU family.

“When they mentioned volunteering to go over to LRI, I didn’t hesitate. The NHS has done so much for myself and my family. I’ve had operations and treatment and I wanted to give something back. It’s the least I can do really.”


Interested in volunteering during lockdown? Find out more here
How DMU is supporting the city right now
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She added: “I actually did a shift at the hospital last weekend; due to personal reasons I have had to take on extra work. I got a lot of comments from people before going but it’s not what you think. I cleaned the COVID ward and to see it with your own eyes is totally different. Everyone made me feel at ease, there was no panic and plenty of PPE.

“I am looking forward to starting at the hospital with the DMU team, there is only a few of us but they are a lovely bunch. One lady is coming from my team and, like me, she just wants to give something back to our wonderful NHS.”

Sue Newman, Associate Director of Estates at DMU, said: “We put a request out to our DMU cleaning staff for anyone who was able, and of course willing, to volunteer to go and work for the NHS. Straight away we had five people step forward.

“We are really pleased that they have done this for us. All five have stuck to it and gone through all the necessary processes. They all want to help in any way that they can. Even more reason to clap for the NHS.”

Janet Coverdale, Head of Facilities at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “We’re immensely grateful to De Montfort University for offering their support to bolster our estates and facilities team during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring that our hospitals are cleaned to a high standard is a key part in tackling this virus and keeping patients and staff safe.

“I would like to say a big thank you to each and every DMU staff member who has put themselves forward. They are a credit to the university.”

The DMU team are due to start this week, and continue until the beginning of June.


Posted on Wednesday 29th April 2020

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