SFL team joins Salute the NHS initiative
Thursday, 28 May 2020
saluteThe operation is housed in a former WW2 RAF hanger at the Bicester Heritage site
UK - The Salute the NHS campaign (www.salutethenhs.org) was launched by businessmen Ron Dennis and food and catering expert Nigel Harris, owner of Absolute Taste and former owner of Fresh Direct. It is a not-for-profit initiative that aims to deliver a million free meals to NHS frontline workers over three months.
Delivering the initiative has brought together an army of experts and partners from leading food, logistics, packaging and other specialists. These include Dennis’s DreamChasing charity, and three FTSE 100 companies - Tesco, Unilever and DS Smith. As well as Absolute Taste, Yodel, Team Rubicon, Hunter Design and Domestic & General, amongst others.
The operation is housed in a former WW2 RAF hanger at the Bicester Heritage site in Oxfordshire. However, it became apparent that the vast space felt daunting for the volunteers from the Bicester community, which consists of civilians, veterans and serving soldiers who have embraced the task of packaging the nutritious meals for the vital frontline NHS staff.
Reading-based AV production supplier SFL was approached by long-term client, Hunter Design, to help transform the site into a more conducive daily working environment for the 50-strong team of volunteers.
“When we were approached by Hunter Design about being part of the Salute the NHS initiative, the whole team could not have felt prouder about being involved in such worthy cause,” says SFL events manager, Mitch Jones. “Fifteen of our furloughed staff members immediately stepped forward and volunteered to transform the venue into a multipurpose, versatile space.”
“We are delivering food packs where they are needed most - the epicentre of the war effort against COVID-19,” comments founder of Salute the NHS, Ron Dennis. “We applaud the immense efforts of organisations like SFL who have put their shoulders behind helping the heroes on our NHS front-line. “We’re all in this together so I am specifically appealing to the business community and business leaders to get involved by supporting salutethenhs.org to achieve our ambitious target.”
SFL supplied 28m of beMatrix wall frame system to separate the space into individual areas that still adhered to strict health and safety regulations and hygiene requirements. SFL’s go-to graphics company, MediaCo Group, provided free bespoke wall prints with motivational messaging designed to lift the morale of the hard-working volunteers, who are packing around 10,000 meals a day.
SFL’s team installed six 85-inch plasma screens around the venue, which show rolling presentations with inspirational quotes, as well as videos with encouraging messages from celebrities and frontline NHS staff. For the launch of the initiative, it supplied a temporary stage for presentations from Dennis and other partners, which included a custom backdrop and camera solution, along with a digital mixing console.
“The production line was getting larger by day, so we introduced a pipe and drape solution to further divide the space,” adds Jones. “We wanted to create an atmosphere that is as intimate as possible, whilst still maintaining social distancing, so we also used uplighters to add colour to the walls.”
SFL also installed a PA system for music playback and general announcements, and a time-lapse camera system to record the entire operation.
“We all know how uplifting listening to music can be,” Jones continues. “Having crystal clear audio distributed across the space means people can enjoy their favourite tunes streamed directly from their phones by using Dennis’s ROXi music service, which he ensured was available to everyone there.”
The SFL team is also involved in other local initiatives, including up-lighting two entrances and providing projection mapped logos onto the front one of Reading’s best-known landmarks, the Royal Berkshire Hospital and, alongside Lumatech, lighting locations around the town of Marlow blue.
Jones concludes, “We know that overall our contribution is small, but we are immensely honoured that SFL could be part of these two wonderful initiatives.”
(Jim Evans)

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