Fireworks competition takes off despite coronavirus threat

AN ANNUAL national fireworks event which faced the axe due to Covid restrictions has gone off with a bang.

More than 5,000 spectators witnessed the major competition – one of the largest outdoor entertainment gatherings since the coronavirus lockdown began – thanks to a line-marking robot who assisted with social distancing.

Firework Champions, which has run every summer for 16 years, brought together a trio of companies that each prepared a 10-minute musically choreographed showcase to compete at Belvoir Castle, near Grantham, on Saturday evening.

After an audience text vote, Explosive Fireworks were hailed champions.

The event had been thrown into chaos when the government announced the national lockdown at the end of March.
But organisers MLE Pyrotechnics were relieved to hear the news in July that large outdoor events could go ahead if they were Covid-19 secure.

Mat Lawrence, of MLE Pyrotechnics, said: “At the earliest opportunity we opened discussions with local councils for each of the four remaining events in the Firework Champions calendar. This was supported by expert help from our independent safety advisers.
“With our ticketing system we looked at purchases over the last six years, both day and pre-booked, and this enabled us to work out the average people per bubble and the spacing required.”

The organisers had to provide marked out boxes to achieve successful social distancing and this was done thanks to significant investment into a robotic line marker which allowed 60km of boundaries to be marked to 1cm accuracy.

Diagrams and maps were distributed and communication made with all ticket holders prior to the event, while touch-free hand sanitisers were also installed at the venue.

UKLoos provided toilets and event staff checked the queues for social distancing while first aid facilities were also on hand.
The drive-in site held 900 cars, located 620 metres from the fireworks, so the organisers provided the only Martin Audio Longbow PA system in the UK to allow the music to be thrown a long distance.

MLE Pyrotechnics is still basking in the positive feedback it has received from Saturday’s audience and is now offering its line-marking service out under the brand Event Marking.
The company has three more fireworks events planned this year:

Stanford Hall – Saturday 29 August
Eastnor Castle – Saturday 5 September
Ragley Hall – Saturday 12 September
Tickets can be purchased from www.fireworkchampions.co.uk

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Leading Online Academy Takes Learning Online Due To Covid19

The Developer Academy in Sheffield has developed an ‘all-in-one’ online learning platform to move all of its courses online due to the Coronavirus outbreak and has conducted some free courses for the local Sheffield community to test and refine this method of delivery before launching its first paid courses on 15th June.

Statement from Ben Atha, Founder:
‘’Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the Government’s advice on Covid19, we do not envisage being able to deliver in person courses for quite some time and have therefore developed an online Learning Platform, with help from our instructors and the Sheffield Digital community, to deliver the next courses online. ‘’

‘’Having spent the last few weeks developing a custom learning environment and perfecting online delivery to maintain a high level of quality for students, including interaction with potential employers throughout the course and setting up informal and formal interviews, we are confident this new method of delivery will provide the same student experience as our in-person training.’’

The Developer Academy worked with The Curve Consulting to develop the platform while their instructors reworked curriculums and delivery methods over a period of four weeks. The Developer Academy is in the final stage of testing, conducting a 2 free week long Introduction to Web Development course to people of the Sheffield City Region, which is due to be completed on 8th May and the first paid courses starting on 15th June.

The company mission has always been to provide a flexible, affordable way for anyone who wants a job in coding or tech to retrain and gain these skills around their job and life commitments.

They’ve helped several people retrain as developers, find jobs and built strong relationships with employers in and around Sheffield, who have been fantastic in helping shape the curriculums.