UWE Bristol signs new business drive to help nation through Covid-19 crisis

Media Relations Team, 13 May 2020

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The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has joined businesses from across the UK in an initiative to help Britain and its most vulnerable citizens to pull through the coronavirus crisis. 

UWE Bristol is one of over 300 organisations to have signed the C-19 Business Pledge which was launched by former Cabinet Minister, RT Hon Justine Greening.

The national scheme encourages businesses to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help their employees, customers and communities across Britain get through the crisis and has already received the backing of employers representing over 1.5 million staff and students.

Justine Greening said: “With the future of many employers hanging in the balance and incredibly tough times unfolding in sectors across the UK, businesses face many incredibly difficult decisions. But those companies who are able to, can have a huge role in battling the impact of coronavirus and make a real difference in these uniquely challenging times.

“The C-19 Business Pledge is all about encouraging as many businesses as possible to get involved and then helping them do that faster and better by sharing all the great work that’s already been done. The early response has been incredible and I’ll do everything I can to help to connect up British business to play its role.”

Employers who sign up to the pledge give their backing to three main objectives built around employees, customers and communities. They will not only help Britain through the immediate challenges of coronavirus, but also through its recovery.

Suzanne Carrie, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at UWE Bristol said: ‘‘From the outset our priority has been our people; our students, staff and the wider community around us. As a university that focuses on mental wellbeing for staff and students in all we do, we have prioritised ensuring our staff and students are safe and able to work and study from home where possible. We are proud of the ways that we have been able to support our NHS, local communities and schools during this period and we continue to do everything we can to support our students.’’

UWE Bristol has already introduced a number of measures to support employees, students and the wider community through the crisis. This includes but is not limited to: moving staff to remote working where focus is on output rather than hours worked and where staff are able to work flexibly, allowing time for child care of caring duties; moving teaching online and communicating regularly with students to ensure their final grade is not negatively affected by the crisis; ensuring students have access to IT and mental health resources and support; and providing financial support to students in need.

In terms of supporting the wider community, UWE Bristol’s Exhibition and Conference Centre has been converted into a temporary hospital to provide hundreds of extra beds if local services need them, while accommodation that is not currently being used by students is also being made available for NHS staff on Frenchay Campus. UWE Bristol academics have also been producing much needed supplies such as visors and disinfectant for NHS staff.

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