Mountview Volunteers - The Show Must Go On!

Life in lockdown can seem pretty scary, strange and overwhelming. The press is full of sadness and fear, and we’re missing out on day-to-day connections with loved ones. It’s easy to miss the good news stories out there – which is why we want to take the time to celebrate them! Mountview staff and students have thrown themselves into supporting their communities in response to Covid-19, and using all their skills to make a difference. Because as we all know – the show must go on…

First year Musical Theatre student Elspeth Day-Collins is right on the NHS front lines. Her work as a Ward Helper at St Mary’s Hospital means that she takes over on the easier tasks, which allows the nurses to focus fully on the fight against Covid-19. “This is totally new work for me,” Elspeth admits, “As someone that is less vulnerable to COVID I wanted to do my part and help out where I could during this pandemic.” She has particularly enjoyed the opportunity to help keep patients calm and stop them feeling isolated – “Because hospitals aren’t allowing visitors, one of the best parts has been helping older patients to connect with their families over FaceTime.”

With hospital supplies struggling under demand, the Mountview Costume Department has been stepping in to share their skills and help out. Kate and Megan from the Mountview Costume Department have been using their time away from Mountview to sew scrubs for the surgeries and medical centres in the Bromley area, and working to build a relationship with their local hospital to start supplying them too. Costume supervisor Katie has been sewing supplies for her local hospital in Kent, and also for the English National Opera Scrubs Team, who are coordinating a response to supply four of the Central London Hospitals.

Meanwhile, MA Creative Producing student Lote Pupola and her housemates have been tackling the issue of visors for hospital staff. “We worked together with Light Initiative (an events company my housemate works for), and got hold of a 3D printer to start printing visors. My housemate’s sister is an NHS nurse and we deliver the visors to her and others to distribute amongst their colleagues.” It’s been a challenge. “We’ve done it all without any infrastructure or support, but it has gone well so far – we have helped Light Initiative in making and distributing over 1000 visors in the past two weeks!”

Other Mountview students have been using their drama and theatre skills to keep spirits up. “I used to be a children’s entertainer,” says Georgia Mann, first year Musical Theatre student “so I thought that doing a Facebook Live Video dressed as Moana might lift someone’s spirits. I did a singalong of lots of Disney fan favourites and it got a great response. It was really lovely to see that something so simple brought a lot of smiles and cheerfulness in this challenging time!”

In Wiltshire, second year Musical Theatre student Ellan Mangham has also been working alongside other members of her family. “I’ve been helping vulnerable people in my community, whether that’s doing food shops, collecting medication, or other errands – some elderly people just want a chat over the phone! Every vulnerable person I’ve met have been so grateful for what we’ve been doing.”. She urges as many people as possible to sign up to NHS volunteer groups – “it’s so important to offer a hand when a lot of people cannot do so.”

Samuel Clunas agrees. “I’ve been volunteering with Age UK, and being on the other end of the phone for elderly people who are by themselves during the quarantine. It’s a great thing for young people to do, and I highly recommend it – even beyond the end of Covid-19.”

Other have been using their artistic skills to spread a little happiness. Rosie Nicholas has launched a scheme called A Way With Words – “I type up people’s messages to their loved ones on an old 1960s typewriter and pop it in the post for a nice surprise!”. Similarly, Phoebe Horn (second year Acting student) has been spreading cheer the old-fashioned way. “I’ve been painting cards and little prints and posting them out to the Mountview community to spread a bit of joy and kindness away from technology” she explains, “I’ve also done a few NHS designs for some NHS worker customers, with all money being donated. I have always loved the prospect of a card – it has more heart than a text.”

Check back soon to read about more of the volunteering projects that Mountview staff and students have been getting involved in!