Nicola Sturgeon praises initiative to harness goodwill of ‘engineers, electricians, lifters and shifters’

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Nicola Sturgeon: we need to find a better way to ‘harness this goodwill’

A collection of technical freelancers from the entertainment industry have offered their “immense pool of experience and skills” to the NHS, drawing praise from Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

In an open letter signed as of last count by almost 600 people, the People Powered group said “engineers, electricians, lifters and shifters” are available to help transform NHS hospitals as they prepare for an explosion of coronavirus cases.

“In our industry, we are used to transforming a place for one purpose into a place that can be used for another purpose,” said the letter, which was compiled by freelance lighting designers Katharine Williams and Jono Kenyon.

“We are experienced professionals that can do so safely, quickly and effectively. We have the capability to make a difference by using our immense pool of experience and skills to help you.”

The move drew praise in the Scottish parliament today from Sturgeon, who said the government needs to work out the best way to “harness all the good will”.

“We need to set up a central point to collate all this so nobody’s offers of kindness and help are falling through the cracks,” she added.

The letter accepted that the vast majority of creative sector freelancers are currently on lockdown.

Various bodies including Bectu and Directors UK have been repeatedly imploring the government to do more to stem freelancer concerns, with Directors UK arguing freelancers should receive some form of “proportional income support” if they lose work.