Chamber Patrons

IT services giant renews Prince’s Trust patronage

International IT services business SCC has renewed its arrangement as patron of The Prince’s Trust for the next three years. SCC, which has been a patron of

the charity for seven years, has supported several of the trust’s regional and national schemes and campaigns, most notably a significant investment of £100,000 in 2018, donated via The Rigby Group, owners of SCC, to help create a new hub in Birmingham that helps thousands of young people secure work, education and training opportunities. Sharon Arbuckle, senior head of

corporate partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, welcomed SCC’s continued support, with the renewal taking the firm to a decade of patronage. She said: “Youth unemployment

rates are rising, and young people across the UK have been heavily affected by the pandemic. We must support young people to upskill, retrain and access job opportunities, or else we risk losing their ambition and potential to long-term unemployment, to the detriment of their future and to the recovery of our economy. “SCC is already showing amazing

dedication when it comes to helping turnaround the lives of disadvantaged young people.

Through their new patronage of The Prince’s Trust, and membership of our Technology Leadership Group, we hope we will be able to empower thousands more young people to transform their lives and give them the confidence and skills to succeed in life.” SCC CEO Mike Swain said that

the work that the charity does with young people has been ‘outstanding’, especially during the Covid crisis. He said: “The pandemic has been

a huge blow to all of us in many different ways and it will take a long time to recover. In the IT sector we have been in a more fortunate position, but sadly, the same cannot be said for everyone.

The youth demographic has been severely hit, and those already disadvantaged now face even bigger obstacles.

‘The Prince’s Trust, welcomed SCC’s continued support’

“Young people are the future and

we’re so pleased to be able to help those more affected by the crisis through our partnership with The Prince’s Trust. The work this charity does with young people is outstanding and they’re making a real difference to many lives. We look forward to seeing how we can continue to support them.”

University leads infection study

A new study aims to explore the immune response to natural Covid-19 infection and vaccination in patients with antibody deficiencies. The study is being led by a trio

of medical experts and academics at University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and University College London. Funded by UK Research and

Innovation (UKRI), ‘Covid infection in patients with Antibody Deficiency’ (COVAD) is part of a portfolio of national studies examining the immune responses in patients considered at high risk.

Immunodeficiency patients are

considered vulnerable or extremely vulnerable to infection and have had to undertake preventative measures to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.

Patients with antibody deficiency do not make good responses – if any – to most vaccines, but it is unknown whether they will respond to Covid-19 vaccines. COVAD chief investigator Alex

Richter, professor of clinical immunology at the University of Birmingham, and consultant clinical immunologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Nationally, a number of patients with immunodeficiency have had severe or prolonged illness with Covid-19. “Understanding why some

patients do well and others don’t is so important. Being unable to clear the virus is not just a problem to the patient but is potentially a public health problem too.” The researchers will be using Oxford Immunotec’s ‘T-SPOT’

covid test to research immunological responses. Samples will be taken from patients to measure the presence and level of antibodies in the blood and anti- SARS-CoV-2 T-cells. Researchers say that results of

the study will help inform the development of vaccination strategies as well as strengthen the understanding of risk for continuous virus transmission. Professor Richter and Siobhan

Burns, professor of translational immunology at University College London, are leading the COVAD research team at immunodeficiency centres at NHS hospital trusts across the UK, in what will be the largest study of its kind in this rare patient group world-wide. The centres will screen patients

and will invite those who are eligible and meet specific criteria to join the trial.

Renewed support: Mike Swain

700th business signs Covenant

Seven hundred businesses and organisations across the West Midlands have pledged their support to the Armed Forces community. Valiant Integrated Services

Ltd has been hailed as the 700th company within the West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association (RFCA) region to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. The Armed Forces Covenant

was introduced by the Ministry of Defence in 2014 and is used across the country for businesses to pledge their support to the Armed Forces family. The organisations who hold

a Covenant recognise the value serving personnel - both regular and reserve - veterans and military families contribute to their business and the country. Valiant is a trusted partner

to government military clients and the broader defence sector, providing vital resources, high-value solutions, and critical support services for essential missions around the world. “Valiant is proud to show

our support to the Armed Forces community through the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant,” Emma Sharma, the firm’s chief administrative officer said. “We demonstrate our

commitment to actively serving personnel, veterans, and their families by funding and supporting initiatives that provide opportunities to those who serve. Veterans and reservists make up 28 per cent of our worldwide workforce, and they and their families are an important and integral part of team Valiant.” Colonel (Ret’d) Richard

Maybery, chief executive of West Midland RFCA added: “It’s great to see our Covenant network continuing to expand rapidly across the region and I am delighted that Valiant Integrated Services have just become our 700th Armed Forces Covenant signatory in the West Midlands. “Since establishing themselves in the UK they have very quickly jumped aboard this and as well as their commercial links with Defence, they are already actively supporting the wider Armed Forces Community.”

June 2021 CHAMBERLINK 35

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