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Worshipful Company of Cordwainers

Cordwainer charity FANY (PRVC) supports Covid-19 response

Posted by: JHM Date: 22 May 2020

Past Warden and a Commander in FANY (PRVC) Caroline Squire writes about the unit’s recent work. Caroline personally assisted in two of the roles with the Westminster Coroner and National Emergencies Trust (NET).

The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Princess Royal Volunteer Corps) [known as FANY (PRVC)] has been busy in recent weeks after being mobilised as part of the national response to COVID-19. At the time of writing, our team of volunteers has, provided the equivalent of over 600 days’ support in just six weeks to six key projects: NHS Nightingale Hospital London, the North London and Westminster Coroner’s offices, the City of London Police, the Excess Deaths Management Group, Westminster and the National Emergencies Trust (NET) coronavirus appeal.

The FANY (PRVC) is one of the longest established and most highly decorated all-female units in the UK. Originally formed in 1907, the FANY served with distinction in both world wars, numbering inspirational women such as Odette Hallows and Noor Inayat Khan in their ranks. (Find out more about the unit’s history here.)

In recent weeks we have been assisting the London Pandemic Multi-Agency Response Teams (PMART) by providing daily loggist support for the City of London Police. This is one of the core skills that FANY volunteers specialise in. An essential part of crisis management, loggists support key management roles by recording information received, and when decisions were made and actions taken in real time.

In an unexpected return to our WWI role in establishing frontline hospitals, FANYs were deployed to NHS Nightingale during the setting up phase and have been filling a number of roles, such as family support and liaison, and providing support to the operations, clinical, HR and workforce teams.

Small groups of FANYs have also been providing daily surge support to both the North London and Westminster Coroners’ offices through call handling, data management and administrative support. We also provided administrative support at the Excess Deaths Management Group meeting, hosted by Westminster City Council.

Early into the crisis members supported the National Emergencies Trust, a new charity established to distribute money at times of domestic disaster. FANYs provided remote support to their appeal tracker, fundraising, administration and communications teams.

Recently the Prime Minister declared that the UK is ‘past the COVID-19 peak’ and we anticipate that our deployments will soon wind down. The FANY (PRVC) is on-call 24/7 and ever ready to step forward to offer support in times of crisis. Inspired by the courageous women who have gone before us, it is what our volunteers are trained for. We are humbled and privileged to work with dedicated and professional teams in all the civil and military organisations we assist.

The FANY (PRVC) is a registered charity (No: 249360) which the Cordwainers are proud to support. Members are volunteers and do not get paid for the work that they do. To find out more about their work, or to donate please visit www.fany.org.uk.