At the end of April, it was announced that Ricoh Arena would be joining a number of other sporting venues by opening its door as a COVID-19 testing centre. Arena CEO, Stuart Cain, joined us for a Q&A to update on how the project is going and the importance of Wasps Rugby doing their bit to fight the pandemic.
How did the initial idea of using Ricoh Arena as a testing facility come about?
We were approached by Coventry City Council and NHS Warwickshire Community Care Group (CCG) as they wanted to set up a centre for the area that was easy to find and on land large enough to accommodate. The success of this led to Public Health England taking over the site and making it one of the key national sites capable of up to 1,000 tests per day.
In what ways have the Wasps/Arena Team been able to assist with the setup?
We worked with the NHS on designing the site then helped deliver the infrastructure (tents, signs, etc.) working with local suppliers Moseley Signs and Neptunus Structures. We were then part of the management team daily meetings by video call to agree strategy and operational delivery. We also provided lunches for the nurses and workers on site every day.
How important do you think it is for the Sport/C&E industry to get involved in fighting the pandemic?
Crucial! Sport plays a big part in the wider community and Wasps is well known for supporting people across the region. Whilst we’re all going through this together it’s important to do what we can.
How can the extended Wasps community get involved with helping out with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Keep following government restrictions and advice, make sure we’ve got this under control and hopefully, we can then start to pick up normal life again. It’s also vitally important that we all stay in touch with family and friends, particularly those people who are in the at-risk groups or isolated. It takes very little time to make a phone call but the effect can be massive.