In an unprecedented move, supported by musician Frank Turner and comedian and writer Adam Kay, UK music industry luxury vehicle company, Vans For Bands is offering its entire fleet to NHS hospitals for front-line staff to use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Oxford based company, which runs a fleet of sleeper buses that are primarily used by artist and bands for touring the UK and Europe, has offered its state-of-the-art luxury vehicles to be parked outside NHS hospitals anywhere in the UK for the duration of the current crisis.
Doctors, nurses and other key staff will be offered exclusive 24-hour access to sleep and relax in the sumptuous surroundings, usually only experienced by rockstars, whilst still observing the 2m social distancing rule. The idea is to provide spaces for health workers to rest and take stock during their rest break or at the end of each shift. The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge and Whittington Health NHS Trust in north London are the first hospitals in the UK to take advantage of the offer with sleeper buses already parked up on site. Lewisham Hospital in south London is next in line with a bus due to be deployed within the next 48 hours.
Vans For Bands who are subsidising the project have launched a JustGiving page (www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/vans-for-bands) in order help facilitate their offer. The aim of crowdfunding in this way is to cover only the costs of keeping the fleet on site at the hospitals. This is a non-profit making scheme.
Ed Thomson, director and co-owner of Vans For Bands, says: “The social gathering restrictions brought about by COVID-19 have completely decimated the live music industry resulting in our entire fleet being off hire and returned to our yard. We are very happy to be able to offer our tour buses to NHS hospitals anywhere in the UK for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis as a place for doctors, nurses and support staff to take a rest or sleep in at the end of or during their extended shifts. We feel it’s only right that we all do everything we can to support our NHS.”
Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt says: “In these bleak days, it’s been truly heartwarming to see such an outpouring of love for the NHS. This is a wonderful example of a business stepping up to support frontline staff – I know so many doctors and nurses who have been struggling to find accommodation or somewhere to relax during their shift breaks and this will make a huge difference.”
Singer song writer and voice of his generation Frank Turner says: “I’m happy and proud to see my friends at Vans For Bands putting their fleet to good use in this trying time. I have spent years of my life sleeping on these buses all around the UK and Europe; now they can be used to help the amazing frontline NHS staff during the crisis, who are working hard and taking risks for us all.”
A spokesperson for The Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) said: “We have a number of options of accommodation for staff and it’s great to be able to add the buses to our offer. A huge thanks to Vans for Bands for stepping up with a unique solution that can be parked on site for staff to rest and relax in for a few hours or overnight.
Vans For Bands Ltd owns and operates the largest fleet of splitter vans in Europe along with a fleet of premium sleeper buses with repeat customers from across the music, comedy, events, performing arts and TV production and sports industries. Recent clients include Paul Weller, Alice Cooper, Elbow, Biffy Clyro, Will Smith, Primal Scream, Sam Fender, Libertines, Massive Attack, Leftfield, Blossoms, Ricky Gervais, Peter Kay and Conor McGregor. CBW carried out an operator profile of the company in April 2019, which can be read here: https://cbwmagazine.com/from-one-van-to-europes-largest-fleet-of-splitter-vans-in-just-14-years/