Call to industry to support Leicestershire PPE drive

Published: Thu 23 April, 2020

*Shared in partnership with One Prepared*

The Lord Lieutenant is teaming up with local councils and business leaders in a new drive urging companies to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) for key workers.

The appeal – spearheaded by Mike Kapur – asks firms to donate anynew and unused items such as fluid-resistant surgical masks, nitrile gloves, goggles, disposable aprons or overalls, sanitising gel and overshoes, and to consider using their factories or equipment to produce more of these specific PPE items.

Chiefs from Leicestershire County Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership are backing the call to bolster the equipment for staff in the NHS, social care, children’s homes, homeless shelters, community pharmacies and more.

Mike Kapur OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, said: “Donations have been brilliant. Now we need to ask to our bigger companies and partners across our area to step in. Could you help? We are looking for PPE equipment in bulk, if possible. Our communities have been so generous. Now we need a response at scale to help keep our frontline workers safe. Businesses can’t return to anything like normal until the NHS can get on top of the virus so it’s very much in businesses’ interest to get on board and do what they can to help.

“I know that many manufacturers have risen to the challenge and offered their amazing support and entrepreneurial skills to produce PPE. Thank you. We are dealing with these requests as quickly as we can. Naturally, we are prioritising those ready now to make kit at the right standards. There’s great advice on the government website – and at the LEP’s site – which can help manufacturers understand what we’re looking for. Getting the specifications right from the beginning means we can move quickly and get your machines working!”

Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “Businesses have risen to the challenge and I’d like to thank those who’ve already donated vital supplies. In Leicestershire, we have world-leading companies and people with significant expertise and contacts – and we’re particularly keen to talk to them to and think creatively about how supplies can be sourced or made to the right standards. These remain extremely trying times and every day, our social care staff, alongside NHS colleagues, are working tirelessly to provide crucial round-the-clock support. This equipment helps key workers to support our most vulnerable people in their homes.”

The move also fully supports the #ppe4nhs campaign which is now expanding into Leicestershire after receiving over 15,000 items of PPE in Ashfield and Mansfield in less than two weeks.

Campaign Co-ordinator, Malcolm Healey, said: “We’re so pleased with the response from businesses in Mansfield and Ashfield, that we’ve now expanded the project into Leicestershire. If we can generate that much support in one local area, the potential to do so much more across Leicestershire is huge! We now have drop off centres at various locations across the county, where businesses can take their donations and we’ve had terrific support from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, which has opened up six fire stations as drop off points.”

Kevin Harris is Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Ltd Board of Directors.  He Said: “We have fantastic businesses and organisations across Leicester and Leicestershire who have already donated or are making items of PPE for the NHS, but we still have a local need to provide PPE across a wide range of organisations within the healthcare, social care and support sectors. 

“It is important to mobilise the opportunities locally and ensure we maintain a supply of equipment to the frontline where it is needed most. We all want to return to normal at the earliest opportunity and ensuring that PPE gets to where it is needed most will help that happen more quickly.”

The Local Resilience Forum (LRF) has taken on the role of distributing PPE to key workers in preparation for a national mechanism coming on-line. The LRF is working 24/7 to build stock, prioritise and distribute PPE, using scientific and technical advice. This includes care homes, GP surgeries, pharmacies, emergency services, courts, prisons, children’s homes, special schools, homeless shelters, domestic refuges, mortuaries, funeral services and community groups delivering services.

To make a PPE donation, please e-mail ppe4nhs@hotmail.com with details of the items you can donate and to arrange a drop off time. To get involved in manufacturing PPE, please go to www.leicestershire.gov.uk/ppe for further information how to engage and specifications on PPE items to ensure they can manufacture what’s needed to the correct standards.

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