A band of ‘digitals’ launched Frontline.Live the world’s first national online map of real-time PPE needs

Digital creatives use open data to save lives of Covid-19 heroes.

In March, our healthcare workers were effectively risking their lives due to lack of PPE.

Instead of doing an awareness campaign, a group of experienced, creatives, digital entrepreneurs, and developers decided to find a way to solve the problem

In less than three weeks they built and launched a platform that gave those on the frontline a way to report and receive the equipment they need, in real-time.

It was the launch of Frontline.Live, the world’s first national real-time online map, connecting the PPE needs with supply.

Three months later, Frontline.live had matched over 1500 PPE needs with supplies across the UK, each need a request for thousands of masks, aprons, gloves to protect NHS staff and care home workers.

“Without a single penny changing hands” says Katz Kiely “that was a fundamental principle”.

www.Frontline.live shows what is possible with open data, transparency and an agile approach.

The agile approach is how the volunteer team of specialists in data, comms, content and tech team work together in self-organising groups.

“It’s like we cut right through all the bureaucracy”, said Bo Hellberg

It’s also how supplier partners and companies like BrewDog have pivoted their production to deliver what healthcare workers need.

And the success hasn’t gone unnoticed abroad either. Frontline.live has already launched in Ireland, the Nordics are setting up and there are discussions with India and the US.

The decentralised approach is also why organisations, like CareGiven and WeGotYou chose to partner with Frontline.live and get PPE to where it’s needed the most.

To help drive awareness, Ocean Outdoor generously provided free OOH across the UK, Snapchat jumped on the opportunity to sponsor Frontline.live, as did Microsoft, The Times, The Sun.

“The support has been overwhelming” said Bo Hellberg, ‘we’re just small group of volunteers asking companies to help us to help frontline workers” ’

“But the journey hasn’t been without its challenges.” says Katz Kiely.

With a growing culture of fear health care workers are scared to flag PPE needs in open forums. Frontline.live had to shift to allow people to submit needs anonymously. Currently 70% of all requests are anonymous.”

We wish our work was done,. But Covid19 and the PPE crisis isn’t over. Healthcare workers are still risking their lives.

We cannot fail our frontline workers again.


“We have asked for 3 emergency PPE packs from the government and have not yet received any. Every time we place an order it goes to main distribution in Birmingham and we are still waiting. We only have enough gloves and masks to last for 2 weeks as we received a donation yesterday”

“Hospital policy is not letting us use visors unless patients are known to be coughing. What are we meant to do, close our eyes?”

Over 25% of doctors stated that they felt pressured into seeing patients despite not having adequate protection

A Bristol healthcare worker revealed that management were refusing to isolate residents with COVID-19 and had told them they wouldn’t be buying anymore due to cost 

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