This week, officers from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) visited  the Ironworks in an effort to increase Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in Shropshire and, most importantly, Oswestry. The MOD has identified the Ironworks as the perfect location due to its excellent public awareness alongside the added benefit of public familiarity. Soldiers from the Queen’s Regiment of Gurkha Signals, based in York, were tasked to fulfil a recognisees survey, and attended the site  to evaluate traffic movements and parking facilities.

A total of twelve soldiers will be stationed at the testing facility and the Ironworks have offered to supply porta-loos for both male and female personnel.  Signage will be placed on the main A5 and within the sculpture park to ensure easy and efficient traffic management. All costs will be shouldered by the Ironworks. An indoor area, in additions to their MOD gazebos, is also being prepared as an area for breaks or admin duties.

Mr Knowles, from the Ironworks, has said: “We were delighted to have been selected by the MOD to help in the national effort to increase testing substantially across the whole of the UK. Currently, there are limited centres conducting testing across Shropshire and nothing in Oswestry, so it is incredibly important to add a shoulder to this national COVID-19 wheel. We will now await further direction to support the MOD to the fullest.”

The Government and Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, has said that Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, wants to see testing across the nation move from 100,000 to 200,000 people over the coming months. Further announcements to follow.

Pictured (from left to right): Ridesh Mukhita, Sergeant of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals; Clive Knowles, Chairman of the British Ironworks Centre; Shankar Gurung, Sergeant of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals.