"We are modular builders so we knew we could create portable buildings with comfortable interiors to help families visit their loved ones since Covid-19 made it impossible to go inside care homes."
A forward-thinking events and exhibitions business near Stratford-upon-Avon has reinvented itself into providing visitor pods for care homes across the UK.
Showplace in Clifford Chambers, which was established in 1987, has built a world-wide reputation for providing modular stands, structures and trailers for exhibitions from Barcelona to Birmingham.
When the Coronavirus pandemic struck in March, managing director Rob Goodman and his team took the big step of switching their skills to designing, manufacturing and installing modular visitor pods at care homes.
The innovative decision has paid dividends with care homes from the Isle of Wight to Wales and from Scotland to Norwich being able to introduce family visits for residents after buying or renting the pods.
Rob has now spoken with the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to discuss further networking opportunities nearer to their Warwickshire base.
He said: “Events and exhibitions started to be cancelled from last February and we pursued a few avenues where our skills were transferrable such as Perspex screens before we came across the idea of modular pods for care homes.
“We are modular builders so we knew we could create portable buildings with comfortable interiors to help families visit their loved ones since Covid-19 made it impossible to go inside care homes.
“We have four different sorts and some are mobile with wheels so that care homes can move them to different locations within their group and it negates the need for planning permission.
“Most of the work is pre-assembled in our workshop and we assemble them at the care homes. The response has been incredible and it has brought a different focus to our staff because the feedback we have had has been heart-warming.
“We have facilitated visits for families who had not seen each other for months and we have helped around 3,750 families see their loved ones.
“The pandemic has meant we have had to pivot our business massively because the events industry has been closed and I think we will return to events but this is an avenue that will stay open as long as there continues to be a need from care homes.”
Jim Clark, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said Showplace was a perfect example of a business that has shown innovation and initiative in the face of adversity.
He said: “Showplace has totally re-invented itself in Covid-19 and made a real difference to help families visit their relatives in care homes while following Government guidelines.
“The fact the pods can be used all-the-year-round whatever the weather has been a crucial factor in their success.
“I am going to be working with Rob to make introductions to representatives from the care home sector in Coventry and Warwickshire as well as organising a meeting with Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi so that Showplace can continue to go from strength to strength.”