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Students and staff answer the call to support citywide response to coronavirus

More than 200 students and staff have signed up to offer their services to help Leicester’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Students, lecturers, technicians, administrators and professional services staff are among the people to put their names forward for the new register, which is being run by DMU Local, De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)'s public engagement team. Staff will be paid to volunteer during work time.


Work could include supporting food banks such as this one in Beaumont Leys

DMU Local is working with Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL) which is co-ordinating Leicester City Council’s citywide aid response. DMU Local will match people to help with tasks that are needed – such as shopping, dog walking, collecting prescriptions or making friendly phone calls to check in on elderly or vulnerable people.

Students from the Health and Life Sciences faculty, including nurses, midwives and pharmacists have also volunteered to support the NHS. Some 1,500 nursing and midwifery students are also on placements in hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the region.

DMU has also donated its stock of PPE equipment for use by the health service, offered the use of its 3D printers and given over its car park for medical staff to use.

The volunteer register aims to provide a way for those who wish to help to do so.  Professor Heather McLaughlin, Pro Vice-Chancellor, said she was delighted with the response.

She added: “To see so many people sign up to help in such a short time is humbling and shows the determination of the De Montfort University family to do all we can to give help to those who need it the most.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer are asked to complete a simple online form, which will help co-ordinators allocate suitable tasks to each volunteer. The health and safety of volunteers, and of those who could be in contact with them, will be of paramount importance to the scheme’s organisers.

* How students and staff at DMU are supporting the community at this time
Advice and information on COVID-19

Film lecturer Matt Jones is among staff who joined the register. Matt, who lives in Leicester, said he had offered to telephone people who were self-isolating to offer support.

He said: “Without a driving license I couldn't offer much in terms of logistical help, but I can put my years of experience working with students who are facing difficulties to good use!

“Those skills of empathy, understanding, and positivity and practicality in the face of adversity will come in really useful and I'm very much looking forward to bringing a little bit of humanity back into to the lives of people who have had to isolate themselves or who don't have support networks in place.

“I'm really proud of DMU for stepping up and offering staff time to support the national volunteering effort. It really is essential that we all do what we can to help each other and the country as a whole when things really get rough, so I'd argue that it ought to be every employer's obligation to enable its staff to contribute however they can.

“While many places of work around the country are doing this, it is particularly lovely to see DMU at the forefront and I really hope it sets an example for other employers, particularly in the private sector where this sense of public-spirit may be less a part of the normal working culture.”

Posted on Wednesday 1st April 2020

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