The past three months have seen a dramatic increase in events work for Showplace, with builds for ten clients at four different venues across the UK in just one week. However, it had been a very long time coming. As a small but long established business operating within the events industry, the Covid-19 global pandemic, and the lockdowns which ensued, resulted in festivals, gatherings and events being cancelled across the UK and worldwide.
Usually, we would be providing premium quality event buildings, stands and exhibition trailers to household brands at some of the most prestigious events across the UK and Europe. With the events industry shutting down at the beginning of March 2020, and the stark reality of normal business being off the agenda for an unknown period of time, our team had to find a way to diversify in order to survive. After several months of exploring many avenues for diversification, and with most staff furloughed at that time, Showplace recognised that their products could make a huge difference to the care sector.
With a large stock of temporary structures and event trailers at our site in Stratford-upon-Avon, we realised that we had an opportunity to adapt our equipment to not only benefit the NHS with the provision of temporary buildings and structures, but also help care homes and their residents. Hearing that care home residents across the UK were no longer able to receive visits from their families, and had gone months without seeing loved ones, we modified our events structures and trailers to offer solutions that would enable care homes to safely facilitate face to face visits again.
By July 2020, we had completely pivoted the business, travelling up and down the UK, installing temporary buildings for the NHS and visiting pods for care homes. Modular buildings and exhibition trailers had been transformed into mobile and fixed visiting rooms and we had developed indoor visitor pod solutions which enabled residents to remain in the warmth and comfort of their care home when receiving visits.
Map shows the locations of our visitor pods and temporary space facilities for the healthcare sector, across the UK
Having delivered the first visitor pod to North Devon, back in July 2020, we have now installed more than 100 temporary rooms and visiting spaces for both the NHS and the care home sector across the UK; from South Wales to Norfolk and from the Isle of Wight to Glasgow. Although the vast majority of customers opt to purchase their space solution, a number of our clients, including the NHS, have opted to hire the required buildings and pods. With easy to sanitise surfaces, every care home pod has a central partition to safely separate residents from visitors and they are supplied with non-slip vinyl flooring, heating, an electrical supply and a two-way intercom system. The beauty of our pods is that very little outdoor space is required, with some of the pods being small enough to fit in a carpark space. As the range of pods has grown and evolved, indoor visitor solutions have also become popular, particularly during the winter months.
Commenting on our work within the care sector, Rob Goodman, managing director of Showplace Ltd, says, “The Covid-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult and painful for so many people and businesses, and it was devastating to see the events industry temporarily shut down. However, we are incredibly proud that our hard work, and determination to survive, has provided us with the opportunity to help such a critical and worthy sector, and bring happiness to so many people across the UK. We have gone from furloughing most of our staff in March 2020, to having to hire additional staff from the local area by November of the same year to fulfil our care sector orders. We are delighted that our work is proving to offer real value to people’s lives and well-being and that we are also in a position to assist the NHS as it continues its critical work in fighting this pandemic. When we started installing our temporary buildings and visitor pods, we could never have imagined the positive impact they would have, and for many health workers and care home residents, the pods have been life changing.”
While our roots are entrenched in the events world, our diversification into the healthcare sector has been hugely rewarding. To enable residents to receive visits from their families again, after experiencing many months without that critical face to face contact, has brought joy to so many; not only to the residents and their families but also to the care home staff and everyone at Showplace. To date, we have helped well over 3500 families reunite and we are continuing to receive enquiries and orders as we head into winter 2021.