A Cumbria-based company is doing its bit to help re-open the country by donating Covid-19 testing kits to music halls in London and Manchester.

Circular 1 Health has donated 1,700 COVID tests to allow the Philharmonia Orchestra to return to Royal Festival Hall in London and the Hallé Orchestra to return to Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

The tests will be distributed to the orchestras on a weekly basis, with 100 being delivered in each batch, ensuring enough tests to regularly screen both ensembles ahead of each performance.

The initiative was spearheaded by Circular 1 Health Laboratory Technician Matt Parry, who is also a professional trombonist.

“I’ve been playing in concert halls and theatres for over 15 years and watching the shutters go up through lockdown was heart-breaking,” said Matt.

“Now thanks to the support of my employer I’m able to give something back and ensure music gets back on its feet whilst ensuring everyone is kept safe.”

Venues across the country are looking to return to indoor live music next month in line with the government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England.

Stuart MacLennan, the Founder of Circular 1 Health added: “Our mission throughout lockdown has been focussed on helping the country regain some sense of normalcy.

“Thanks to team members like Matt, we can use our resources to help groups who would otherwise struggle to return to normality with ease.”

The Philharmonia will receive 900 tests over the two-month period as it plays three concerts at Royal Festival Hall, seven concerts at the Three Choirs Festival, which is being held at Worcester Cathedral this year, and heads to the Royal Albert Hall and finally back into the recording studio.

The Hallé Orchestra will receive 800 tests to screen its musicians throughout its twelve performances from Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

Philharmonia’s Chief Executive, Alexander Van Ingen, said: “We are ecstatic to be returning to make music for a real live audience from June 4th, and understandably there’s still a level of nervousness around safety.

“Thanks to the partnership with Circular 1, our musicians can feel confident and ready to perform at their best, and we know that a positive result can be swiftly isolated so the rest of the orchestra can continue playing without having to cancel concerts.”

Hallé Chief Executive, David Butcher, added: “The Hallé is delighted - and very grateful - to be working with Circular 1 Health in this way.

“The reassurance it provides is invaluable and will help us hugely as we move towards an exciting live season in The Bridgewater Hall next month.”

The Philharmonia’s first concert will open on the June 4 at Royal Festival Hall with The Hallé Orchestra performing at Bridgewater Hall from the June 3 through until the July 22.

Circular 1 Health is a testing company that was born out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stuart Maclennan, former chief executive of Cows and Co, based near Carlisle, set up his new venture Circular 1, in March 2020.