So far, LabAid is surviving the Covid pandemic better than we expected a year ago.

LabAid had totally shut down during the lockdown from March to June 2020 but made a cautious re-start in July following a risk assessment. Social distancing was impossible in the storage area so only 2 volunteers could work at a time, at opposite ends of the building. 

Despite this limitation from July 2020 to June 2021 we sent out 130 boxes to 15 schools in 7 countries: Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Rwanda and Somaliland, almost exactly the same as in the previous year 2019/20 up to the time coronavirus struck, when we entered lockdown and activities were completely suspended for the remainder of the truncated year. 

Whilst we had feared schools would be under too much pressure to sort out redundant equipment for LabAid, we were heartened by an increase of about 50% in the number of donations offered by schools/colleges, including some large ones, as well as a warehouse clearance by suppliers Scientific & Chemical.

However, transport did prove a problem in that for most of the period The Entertainer chain of toyshops was unable to accept boxes of equipment for delivery via their vans to Amersham. We set up some ad hoc routes which were partly successful and the net effect is that stock levels are higher than this time last year.

The year 2019/20 started very well

From July 2019 to March 2020 we sent out 134 boxes to 16 schools in 8 countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

This was comparable to what we had achieved the previous year but coronavirus then struck, we were in lockdown and activities were completely suspended for the remainder of the year.

As lockdown eased in July 2020, we started considering what risk assessments would be required to be able to resume operations whilst maintaining social distancing.

Unfortunately, even before lockdown, the number of schools donating redundant equipment to LabAid had been dropping for some time, by about 30% in 2018/19 and a further 20% between July 2019 and March 2020, although there may well be items in the pipeline of which we are unaware.

We believe this is because the Government’s academy programme and the consolidation of FE colleges onto fewer sites are both largely complete and austerity has meant that maintained schools simply cannot afford to replace equipment.

Overseas Shipments News

LabAid received this feedback in May 2019 to say thank you very much.