Fellows' activities on Covid-19

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All over the country, Churchill Fellows are taking action on crucial issues relating to Covid-19 – in frontline healthcare and many other sectors. Here are their latest updates and insights.




Case studies


Equality campaigner Patrick Vernon has launched a special fund to help BAME families bereaved by Covid-19, as NHS statistics show that BAME communities are suffering higher rates of CV19 fatalities than the national average. The new Majonzi Fund will offer small grants for memorial events and tributes to be held post-lockdown as well as for access to bereavement counsellors and therapists. In addition Patrick has successfully campaigned for greater recognition for Mary Seacole, a Jamaican-born nurse who cared for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War. On 4 May, Headley Court in Surrey - a former rehab centre for injured soldiers - was reopened as the Seacole Centre and will be used as a temporary facility for patients recovering from Covid-19. An article about Patrick's campaigning efforts ran on the BBC website. Patrick's Fellowship explored black heritage and mental wellbeing.

Charity leader Julie Stokes, founder of Winston's Wish, the UK's childhood bereavement charity, is providing specialist bereavement support for families and children affected by Covid-19. To tackle rising bereavement levels and the current restrictions on mourning, Julie and the charity have launched specialist advice and guidance on their website. This ranges from managing grief in self-isolation, to how to say goodbye when a funeral isn't possible, to talking to children about coronavirus and the death of a loved one. Additionally Julie is offering coaching advice and podcasts for businesses and leaders tackling bereavement at this time. Winston's Wish was founded as a result of Julie's Churchill Fellowship which explored stress management in bereaved children.

Charity leader Erin Hope Thompson,  founder of a cancer bereavement charity, has launched a support service specifically for people who lose loved ones to coronavirus. Under Erin's leadership, her charity are providing free online grief support groups and a telephone support service, connecting people with professionals and with others who have experienced a similar loss to coronavirus. Erin is applying learnings from her Fellowhip which explored best practice in bereavement support.

Fundraising consultant Samantha Watson is providing free fundraising support to small, local charities. Through the organisation she founded, Orchard Fundraising, Samantha is helping four charities across Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Avon to raise funds for their causes. To support busy charity staff during this time, Samantha and her small team are applying for emergency grants on their behalf so that they can continue their vital work. Samantha is drawing upon learnings from her Churchill Fellowship where she explored how marketing and public relations can increase the income and sustainability of charities. 

Charity founder Darren Way has adapted his charity's services to work online with clients in the areas of young adult knife crime, gang criminality and disaffection. Ahead of lockdown, the charity that he founded, Streets of Growth, proactively redevised their intervention model. They did this in partnership with an international organisation that Darren researched on his Churchill Fellowship. Their current online services include urgently supporting people who were already trying to escape domestic violence before the lockdown started, and online coaching to prevent clients relapsing into harmful criminal behaviours. They are also helping clients to access financial support, food support, online resourcing, activities, job opportunities and more. Darren founded Streets of Growth as a result of his Churchill Fellowship.

Braille charity director Edward Rogers is involved in emergency provision of learning equipment for blind and partially sighted adults and children who are self-isolating due to coronavirus. Edward is drawing upon learnings from his Churchill Fellowship, which explored international best practice in making blind literacy affordable worldwide.

Disability consultant William Case is using his Fellowship learnings to advise many national organisations, including the Department for Health and Social Care, on how to support disabled people during the pandemic. On his Churchill Fellowship, William researched international best practice in supporting disabled people..

Charity manager Rebecca Rogerson is helping to tackle the rise in domestic violence cases in the UK that has occurred since the outbreak of Covid-19.  Firstly she is working on a national project with Women's Aid England to deliver support to specialist domestic abuse services. Secondly she is assisting a regional project in Northumberland with the Police and Crime Commissioner, to produce a strategic and operational plan ahead of a likely spike in need once current restrictions are relaxed. Rebecca is applying learnings from her Churchill Fellowship, which explored legal and community responses to domestic violence.

Educator Dr Arlene Holmes Henderson is providing specialist advice to exam boards, national governments and regulators on how to award qualifications for school students who will not sit exams this summer. Additionally she is working in collaboration with the Council for Subject Associations to curate a list of free online resources that teachers, parents and students can access to support learning at home. Arlene is drawing upon her Fellowship findings, where she explored different international educational models and policy approaches.

Local council emergency planner Melvin Hartley is working with the voluntary sector to integrate their efforts into the local co-ordinated response against Covid-19. Additionally he is helping to run a project to support people who are isolated, through recruiting a network of spontaneous volunteers in the community to provide practical and emotional support. Melvin's Churchill Fellowship explored international best practice in engaging spontaneous volunteers in emergencies, which has helped shape his current response.

Critical care paramedic Christian Wiggin is leading on pre-hospital care for Covid-19 patients in the South Western Ambulance Service, and leading on major trauma in his local NHS Trust. This includes rewriting the Major Trauma Triage tool, ensuring people suffering major trauma as a result of Covid-19 get an appropriate response and are sent to an appropriate facility, and leading a new 24/7 Trauma Advice Line. He is drawing upon his Churchill Fellowship, which researched different international models in pre-hospital critical care delivered by paramedics.

Civil Air Patrol co-ordinator Tony Cowan is helping an operation to deliver NHS supplies to the UK’s most remote regions by small plane. Working with the British Blood Bike dispatch riders, Tony has been helping to deliver a wide range of time-critical cargoes, including parts for medical ventilators, Covid-19 test kits, medical samples, medicines and personal protective equipment to hospitals throughout the UK.

Digital healthcare consultant Erin P Dooley is working on research around digital health education, remote learning tele-health and patient-centred app development at the University of Bristol, where she is also updating course materials. Additionally she is working on a grant application for the development of a digital health app. This aims to help young people and their families to cope with anxiety about Covid-19, social distancing, and keeping fit and healthy. It will also address misconceptions about the disease. Erin is using some of her Fellowship learnings, which explored the future of digital healthcare and e-health.

Infectious diseases physician Derek Macallan has been involved in the clinical response to Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in the UK. As a Consultant at St George's Hospital in London, which received a large number of Covid-19 cases at the peak, he has been working on the frontline to provide medical care for patients. He has also been involved in setting up several research projects and is waiting to hear if a proposal to the UKRI for a study of genetic determinants of immunity and disease outcomes will be funded. He is drawing upon lessons learnt from his Churchill Fellowship during which he visited an immunology laboratory in Melbourne looking at immune responses to viral infections. 

Charity leader Graham Russell is helping to house 450 rough sleepers in Bristol through his charity Second Step, which supports mental health among homeless people. Second Step, of which he is the Chair, is also providing support on how to cope with isolation, and encouraging cleanliness protocols. On his Churchill Fellowship, Graham Russell investigated community solutions for providing homes and supporting people at risk of homelessness.

Consultant Anaesthetist Sangeeta Mahajan is supporting the emotional wellbeing of her NHS colleagues at this difficult time through mentoring, coaching, sign-posting and setting up a group of volunteers available to talk at any time. She has also helped to design an online resource with NHS England and charity 4Mental Health, which suggests practical ideas to help settle the mind. She is drawing upon learnings from her Churchill Fellowship which explored suicide prevention and bereavement support.

Educational psychologist Michelle Clubb is providing support to schools and contributing to the psychological wellbeing of young people and teachers during Covid-19. This includes developing a leaflet for parents and staff outlining how to manage their wellbeing in response to Covid-19, and devising ways to offer support to staff and children in managing loss and bereavement during the current crisis. Michelle is drawing from her Churchill Fellowship, which explored psychological support in the aftermath of a crisis.

Paramedic Vinny Romano is preparing university student paramedics to work on the frontline through preparatory training, maintenance of their health and wellbeing, and learning relevant skills. He is using his Churchill Fellowship findings, which researched mental health and peer support for ambulance workers.

Consultant Heather-Jane Gray is using the knowledge gained on her Churchill Fellowship on building successful virtual teams for the future to support and educate people in remote working at this time. As part of her organisation Synergy Global, she is offering free advice, webinars, coaching and discounted services  on how to work more effectively as a virtual team, for organisations including charities and healthcare workers across the UK.

Tourism consultant Terence Stevens has set up a website and blog to encourage tourist boards and the wider industry to share ideas and learnings at this difficult time for tourism. Within the first few weeks, his blog had more than 1,100 unique visitors from almost 50 countries around the world. Terence has been inspired into action by his Churchill Fellowship, which explored joint tourist community projects.

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