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Agent and dad plan ‘Row for Alison’ marathon

Free Trade Agency’s David Hughes and his father, Darryl, will be donning the lycra to take part in a fundraising rowing-machine challenge on 28 May in aid of the hospice team that looked after David’s mother, Alison, who passed away in December.

David, who assists Paul Boswell, will be attempting to row a full marathon (26.2 miles/42.2km) alongside his dad who will take on half the distance, in a bid to raise £5,000.

“My mum had a brain tumour and the support of a very extensive professional care team, alongside incredible amounts of support from her family and friends, enabled her to be nursed at home for nearly 12 months prior to being transferred to the Princess Alice Hospice at Esher for her final days,” says David.

“The hospice community team played a vital role in caring for Mum with their unique knowledge and expertise in palliative care. However, while Alison was at the hospice I discovered that they are not able to operate to full capacity, due to a desperate lack in funding for nursing staff.”

To support the Hughes family’s efforts, visit the ‘Row for Alison’ page on JustGiving. At press time, the Hugheses had raised just over half of their £5,000 target.


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Live streams lift morale at hospitals

1Krowd, a Paris-based event ticketing start-up, has launched LiveKrowd, a nonprofit project that streams live shows into hospitals to boost the morale of medical workers and Covid-19 patients.

So far more than 100 artists, primarily from the UK, the US, France, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, have volunteered for the initiative, with some 15 livestreamed shows already having taken place and more scheduled in the coming weeks.

“During the online events, hospital staff and patients tuned in via their mobile phones, PCs or connected TVs to the YouTube live stream,” explains 1Krowd founder Melvin Wong, “making song requests, song dedications and chatting live with the artists. They even sent virtual hearts and claps. The focus is on interaction and engagement; the artists are virtually there to talk to them and encourage them to fight on.”

“The focus is on interaction and engagement”

Since LiveKrowd’s launch, viewing time has increased by over 200% and total views have nearly doubled. “In fact, some hospitals want to make this a regular weekly event,” adds Wong.

“We hope to get more hospitals to participate from around the world and to play our role in battling this global pandemic.”

Read Wong’s guide to monetising virtual events, written in the early days of Covid-19 pandemic, here:

How to make money from virtual concerts

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The O2 Arena opens as NHS training facility

The O2 Arena in London has been made available free of charge to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as a training facility, starting on Easter Sunday (12 March).

Initially operating from 12 April to 29 June 2020, staff trained at the O2 will go on to work at the NHS ‘Nightingale’ field hospital at the ExCel centre in east London.

The O2 – the world’s leading indoor arena – says that while becoming an NHS training centre “will require further rescheduling of events booked to take place during this period, the priority for us all at this time is to help save lives, and we know our customers will understand our desire to support the NHS in this way.”

“We know our customers will understand our desire to support the NHS in this way”

The rest of the O2 remains closed to the public until further notice.

Mark Evans, CEO of the AEG-run venue’s naming partner, O2, comments; “Mobile connectivity is more important than ever before, and we’re continuing to work hard to keep the country connected…

“From providing additional capacity for the NHS, to working with our partners to utilise venues such as the O2, we’re committed to giving customers and key workers the network they need to keep in contact with those closest to them.”


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Venues open doors as demand for hospital beds grows

As demand for hospital beds increases across the world, arenas, stadia and conference centres shuttered by the coronavirus are being repurposed for temporary medical use.

Venue operators in countries including Spain (which has over 33,000 cases at press time), the UK (5,683 cases), Croatia (315 cases), the US (33,404 cases) and Brazil (1,629 cases) are handing over their properties to health authorities to be turned into field hospitals for patients with Covid-19.

In Madrid, Ifema, the 2.9 million m² (31.2m sqft) conference and exhibition centre, has become the largest ‘hospital’ in Spain, welcoming its first 126 patients yesterday and another 90 today (23 March).

Working alongside Spain’s Military Emergencies Unit (UME), the government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, installed 300 hospital beds in Ifema the space of 48 hours, with another 1,300 beds expected to be operational by Wednesday.

Though the Ifema hospital is meant for patients with mild symptoms, the venue is also equipped with 96 ICU (intensive care unit) posts, reports El Mundo, with the hospital site covering a total of 35,000m² (376,740sqft).

Authorities credit fangcang with a crucial role in bringing the outbreak in Wuhan under control

Ifema’s transformation is modelled on that of venues in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic originally began late last year.

Wuhan’s 16 fangcang, or shelter hospitals, have been operational since early February, and include hotels, conference centres, arenas, sports stadia and other public venues in the city. According to the Wuhan municipal government, the number of beds in the city, which has a population of more than 11m, reached 30,000 later that month.

Over half of the fangcang beds are now empty, with authorities crediting the shelter hospitals with a crucial role in bringing the outbreak in Wuhan under control.

In Croatia, meanwhile, the 22,000-capacity Arena Zagreb is similarly being transformed into a field hospital with beds for coronavirus patients to free up space in local hospitals, as many of Brazil’s top football teams hand over their stadia while the Série A season is suspended.

Current South American champions Flamengo, who play in red and black, are among the teams giving control of their stadium (in Flamengo’s case, the famous 78,838-seat Maracanã) to health authorities.

“Let us help those who need it most”

“In this grim moment, I wanted to invite our great red and black nation to renew hope and work for better days,” club president Rodolfo Landim explains in an email to Flamengo supporters. “Let us take care of our elderly and help those who need it most.”

New York’s 1.8m sqft (170,000m²) Javits Convention Center, one of the biggest event spaces in the US, is also being turned into a 1,000-bed hospital, with construction due to begin this week – as is the ExCeL Centre in east London, with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) reportedly planning a 4,000-bed field hospital to cope with the peak of the pandemic in the UK.

Elsewhere in the UK, Welsh rugby club Scarlets says its 14,870-seat stadium, Scarlets Park (Parc y Scarlets), will become a 500-bed hospital, with nearby leisure centres also being used by NHS workers.

“Community has always been a huge part of what the Scarlets is about, and in unprecedented times like these communities stick together,” says Scarlets GM Jon Daniels. “The health service and workers are doing an incredible job in challenging circumstances and we are happy to be offering help and support in any way we can.”


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