UWTSD rises to the challenge of helping the NHS and local communities to fight coronavirus


Staff and students at University of Wales Trinity Saint David are using their innovative skills, knowledge and research to help the NHS and local communities to fight coronavirus.

Artists and designers from the University’s Swansea College of Art have turned their creativity to help the national fight against Covid-19. They have teamed up with children’s charity, Cerebra, to produce essential face visors for distribution to the care sector.

Artists and designers from the University’s Swansea College of Art have turned their creativity to help the national fight against Covid-19. They have teamed up with children’s charity, Cerebra, to produce essential face visors for distribution to the care sector.

Led by Dr Ross Head from the Cerebra Innovation Centre, the team has been using the facilities in Swansea College of Art to produce visors for distribution to care homes across the city. Working long hours, laser cutting and assembling vital face visors, the team has been able to make the first run of 400 visors for delivery in just a couple of days.

The aim is to produce up to 5,000 visors to help plug any gaps in the supply of this important piece of PPE. Professor Ian Walsh said: “For this challenge we’ve pulled together a team from across Swansea College of Art and the Cerebra Innovation Centre to manufacture thousands of visors in a very short period of time. This has been a fantastic effort and thanks to the close relationship between UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art and Cerebra we’re able to make a real difference to protect those on the front line.”

The University continues to provide support for SWARM (The South Wales Additive and Rapid Manufacturing Consortium) in its mission to support NHS Wales’ covid-19 response.

A dedicated team of Designers and Engineers from ATiC (Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre) and CBM (Centre for Batch Manufacturing) along with MADE Cymru (Manufacturing and Advanced Design Engineering) at UWTSD is working around the clock on a number vital projects to support NHS front line delivery.

MADE Cymru is a suite of EU-funded projects delivered by University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) through its innovative research and design hub, Centre for Advanced Batch Manufacture (CBM).

Luca Pagano, Senior Research Engineer at MADE Cymru, has been collaborating with local response coordinator Paul Boyce and Swansea Council to supply PPE to local hospitals. He recently dropped off 3D printed protective face masks to Morriston Hospital.

Luca said: “The MADE Cymru team helps manufacturers in Wales adopt advanced manufacturing technologies to improve productivity. In the current scenario we have partially steered our capabilities to help the NHS in Wales fight Covid-19. Our expertise and technology allow us to bring concepts to full scale production rapidly, which is vital in a situation where time is critical. It is heartening to see so many other groups in the area collaborating and working together to make a positive impact.”

Professor Robert Brown, CBM Wales Director said: “The key challenge facing Wales’ manufacturing sector is to mobilise rapidly and efficiently to meet the urgency of the situation. This is a unique crisis and we have to work together to provide the right equipment at the right time and in the right place to support our NHS heroes.”

Nursing studies and professional healthcare students from the University’s Institute of Management and Health are providing front line care to patients in hospitals and the care sector in south West Wales.

Senior lecturers Gaynor Thomas and Beverley Holland from the University’s Wales Institute of Science and Art are making scrubs for healthcare staff at Swansea Bay University Health Board for The Love of Scrubs project.

Nick Jones, a 3rd year BEng Electronics Engineering student has been using his 3D printers to make visors for NHS frontline staff. He is part of a network brought together by Amman Valley Makespace Group to answer the urgent call for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Spare equipment has been donated to local hospitals and university accommodation is providing temporary homes and childcare facilities to key health care workers.

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University is proud that we can offer the services of our innovative research and design teams during these unprecedented times to support NHS Wales’ covid-19 response. These are powerful coalitions that make a difference, an aim that is at the heart of the University’s innovation strategy. Never has this been as important as it is in this context of empowering others and offering support with resilience and personal wellbeing central to our decisions.”

Luca Pagano, Senior Research Engineer at MADE Cymru, has been collaborating with local response coordinator Paul Boyce and Swansea Council to supply PPE to local hospitals.

A strong sense of community at UWTSD

There’s always been a strong sense of community at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. We play a proactive role in the communities we serve, and this sense of community has grown even stronger since the Covid-19 pandemic writes UWTSD’s Lucy Beddall who runs the University’s Creative Bubble in the heart of Swansea city centre.

"I have been catching up with staff and students over the past week via email and have been touched by how many are helping out by volunteering or taking on important roles. No one I spoke to thought they were doing anything extraordinary, yet it is often the smallest of actions and contributions that make the biggest difference."

Here’s a few of their stories:

“I am volunteering with SilverCrest Care, currently at Ty Nant Care Home working in the kitchen. With the current situation the vulnerable members of the community are more in need of our help than ever. In the care environment, mealtimes are a crucial part to the day giving structure and something to look forward to. It’s been a very rewarding experience, being able to offer my free time to help the more vulnerable during this challenging time and seeing the great spirit of staff and the enjoyment from the residents during this uncertain time, this part being priceless.”

Emily Sullivan, Photography in the Arts student (part of the degree is taught through the medium of Welsh with support from Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol)

“I have been volunteering to work on the farms to help produce food around the Gower and I have worked on farms most of my life.”

Katie Richards, Fine Art student

“I'm helping out in our village shop ‘LLanmadoc Community Shop’ for a couple of hours every week. The shop is a brilliant rural resource and community hub. It has always been run by volunteers, most of whom are retired and are now in social isolation. We deliver food orders to our local community, prioritising those in the shielded groups. My daughter shares the shift with me, we stock the shelves and deep clean the premises. My teenage son also volunteers there, delivering food orders on foot to the local community”

Amanda Roberts, Senior Education Officer

“I've been working for a supermarket for 7 years. With such high demand for food, I’m helping the store cope with the increased number of customers. I've had to step up as shift leader, meaning I’m working even more shifts and long days. I think I have an important role in trying to stay positive for customers as it's a stressful time for them and making sure products are available for all.”

Grace Exley, MDes Surface Pattern student

“I shop for my elderly neighbours – I live in a street mainly made up of the elderly so have been collating shopping lists the past few weeks and delivering their food. My daughter has been helping me.”

Caroline Lewis, Assistant Academic Director (and Lecturer) - Childhood and Education

“I’ve been sending out notes for my street which have my contact number on for anyone who cannot get to the shops because they are high risk or self-isolating or key workers. This means they can call or text, so I can get their shopping for them. Also, for any people who are lonely and just want a chat as talking is what I’m best at I may as well utilise it!”

Heather McInally, Education Studies student

"I have put messages through my neighbours doors with my contact number in case they need any help."

Lesley Martin, Education Studies student

“My family own a residential care home. I have recently made all of the staff Identification cards to give them the ability to go food shopping during certain times. As I used to work in the residential home I am also on constant stand by for when there may not be enough staff.”

Juliet McKay, Surface Pattern Design student

“I am supporting people with autism by being an advocate - a friend to speak to - since it is very stressful for autistic people who do not have a routine now.”

Mark Flagg, PGCE PCET Lecturer

Note to Editor

Creative Bubble

Creative Bubble is a joint initiative between Swansea BID and University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It was set up in June 2013 to explore ways in which the two organisations could work together to make a positive impact on Swansea City Centre (socially, economically and culturally).

Creative Bubble encourages students from different courses to network and work collaboratively, using the empty shop as a base. It provides students with a safe environment to realise their dreams and ambitions – pop-up shops, exhibitions, performances, workshops, film premieres by encouraging enterprise and entrepreneurial thinking. There is a team of Student Enterprise Interns who support the activity and gain invaluable experience generating new ideas and looking after the unit.

The project ultimately seeks to improve the economic future of Swansea by increasing footfall and supporting students who want to set up their own businesses. It also adds to the rich culture and vibrancy of Swansea. Since 2013 over 11,000 people have set foot in the shop to visit hundreds of pop-up student projects.


Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695

Mobile: 07384 467071

Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk