COVID-19 testing at UK Biocentre

UK Biocentre

The UK Biocentre provides a centre of excellence for biomedical research to the academic, pharmaceutical and biotech research community.

At UK Biocentre, they have scaled up to analyse COVID-19 swabs. Robotic equipment will enable us to analyse tens of thousands of swabs every day. Testing at scale with high levels of accuracy is vital. None of this would be possible without their dedicated staff, 150 volunteer scientists and the support of the NHS, Public Health England, the British Army, Royal Navy and their industrial partners – who have all played a vital role to help them scale up operations and ensure accuracy. 

Hear more from the people who helped make this possible:


They are one of three new Lighthouse Labs – the biggest diagnostic testing network the country has ever seen – supporting the national COVID-19 testing effort. 

UK Biocentre was established in 2011 as the service arm of UK Biobank, a national research initiative that collected biological samples and data from 500,000 UK volunteers. UK Biobank is regarded as the world’s premier biobank and implemented an industrialised approach to biological sample processing and management that is now available, through UK Biocentre, to the international scientific research community.

At UK Biocentre they have transformed their facility to test swab samples for COVID-19 on an industrial scale.This would not have been possible

Members attending an EACTS course


EACTS members attending a course

We supported the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS) providing issue management support and communications advice to the EACTS Council and Secretary General. Our work included advice on reputational matters and policy issues, including treatment options for patients. We worked closely with the Secretariat to promote the Association, its Annual Meeting and other education and fellowship opportunities. Our transformative approach to content led to significant reach and engagement levels on social media, helping to secure over 6,000 delegates at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Lisbon.


LCH works with people with very complex mental health needs. The organisation provides supported housing services so that people who would ordinarily be detained in prison or live on long-stay NHS psychiatric units are able to live in the community – with support.

We are supporting LCH as the organisation invests in new models of care to ensure service users experience the independence of living in the community backed by appropriate clinical and housing support.

General Chiropractic Council

General Chiropractic Council logoWe were initially asked to carry out a communications audit for the GCC. This included interviewing some members of the Council and external stakeholders and running a staff workshop to listen to people’s observations. Using the feedback as well as our own desk research, we generated insights which we then tested with the GCC. These insights were used to develop a new framework for communications aligned to the GCC’s new strategy. Since beginning our work, the GCC has refreshed its branding, developed a new website and introduced some new techniques to communicate with its key audiences.  

Simon Weston

Scar Free Foundation

Barley Communications was asked by the Scar Free Foundation to provide communications support for the opening of their new facility – the Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

We worked with partners, including the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and case studies to build a compelling package for media. With tight turnaround times, we successfully secured media visits from seven film crews including (BBC Breakfast, ITV News and 5News) and secured 25 pieces of coverage including BBC Radio 4 Today, BBC News, ITV News, The Daily Telegraph and Mail Online. Coverage highlights are available here:

Commenting on Barley’s support, Brendan Eley, Chief Executive, Scar Free Foundation, said:

 “At every turn, I have been deeply impressed with the way Barley operate. The team worked hard and smart to generate well targeted national media coverage for the opening of The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research, resulting in the best UK-wide profile we have ever achieved. The quality of their work and the support we receive is excellent. I have now commissioned Barley to prepare a communications strategy for the Foundation and anticipate they will continue to be a key partner, supporting our work for years to come.”

World Obesity Federation

Barley Communications was appointed by the World Obesity Federation to provide PR strategy and communications support for World Obesity Day 2018, which focused on weight stigma and discrimination. This included a specific focus on highlighting stigma in the media, requiring a sensitive approach to encourage journalists to cover a story about media stigma.

We devised a global communications strategy to shine a spotlight on pervasive weight discrimination. Our multi-channel approach led to more than 1,100 pieces of coverage for World Obesity Day and led prominent journalists to make u-turns on how they report on the issues.

We also launched a campaigning social handle – @EndWeightStigma – to call out examples of weight discrimination and signpost to World Obesity’s alternative, non-stigmatising image bank. We’re also actively engaging media organisations around the world – including journalists, press standards organisations and stock image portals – to highlight the case for change. This has led key media outlets (including the Mail Online) to change the images they use when reporting on obesity.

On appointing Barley, Lucy Keightley from World Obesity said:

“Barley’s behaviour change experience, savvy campaigning skills and media expertise – on top of their impressive knowledge of the healthcare sector – made them the natural partner to support World Obesity Day. We’re excited to be working with them to help change people’s perceptions of obesity and end weight stigma once and for all.”

Clinic for Dissociative Studies

The Clinic for Dissociative Studies supports some of the most vulnerable people in our society: those who have faced a major trauma such as physical or sexual abuse. The Clinic supports survivors with diagnosed complex traumatised states and dissociative disorders, working with them to come to terms with what has happened and enabling people to move on in their lives.

Clinic for Dissociative Studies

The Family Stability Network

FASTN (the Family Stability Network) supports young people to establish and sustain healthy relationships. They provide peer to peer support and advice through their Status website.

Barley was appointed by FASTN in March 2017 and we’ll be delivering campaigns to raise the profile of FASTN and engage their target audience of 16 to 25 year olds.

NHS Isle of Wight

MLAFLBarley worked alongside KPMG, local NHS organisations, GPs, the local council and the voluntary sector to deliver engagement and public consultation services on the Isle of Wight. NHS and social care organisations on the Island were undertaking a review of services as part of the My Life a Full Life Programme.

We advised on appropriate techniques to ensure people on the Island could have their say and participate in the re-design of services that will better meet the needs of the local population. This involved co-production events, workshops and other forms of engagement with all sectors of the community, including hard to reach groups. Engagement, involvement and co-production were at the very heart of our work on this project.

Sport Wales

Barley worked with Sport Wales to get more people physically active.
Being active – whether through sport or recreation – is good for all sorts of reasons, especially our physical and mental health. But lots of people and communities still face barriers that reduce participation levels. Sport Wales is on a mission to get everyone active and we’ve been delighted to support this vision. Our work focused on two programmes.

In North Wales we supported a pilot project to champion sport aimed at reducing the sport inequalities gap.

We advised on a successful national consultation on the future of sport in Wales. The National Conversation engaged organisations and people across Wales to develop the Vision for Sport in Wales – all about making sure everyone has the opportunity to take part in sport.

World Heart Federation

Barley partnered with the World Heart Federation to promote heart health across Europe around the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017.

The lack of physical exercise is one of the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in Europe. Barley created the #MatchFitWoman campaign and promoted this through social and traditional media to encourage more women to lead an active healthy lifestyle to look after their hearts.

We made the most of existing UEFA footage and new material to produce an inspiring video at low cost.  We also advised on other content for social media which was shared by sports journalists and presenters, football players and health influencers, helping to achieve social media reach of over 6 million.

Meanwhile 309 pieces of coverage generated opportunities to see/hear of 136 million in target markets across Europe.