‘Now is not the time for competition’: 200 businesses already battling PPE crisis

Making face visors at Panel Graphic, which is working with the LEP. Picture: Panel Graphic

Making face visors at Panel Graphic, which is working with the LEP. Picture: Panel Graphic - Credit: Panel Graphic

Companies backing an urgent appeal for PPE supplies have told peers “now is not the time for competition – we need to do what we can”.

The Black Shuck team are making hand sanitiser. Pictured from left, Zoe Emmerson, Nicola Kershaw, Ke

The Black Shuck team are making hand sanitiser. Pictured from left, Zoe Emmerson, Nicola Kershaw, Keith Emmerson, Pat Saunders, Will Kershaw, Leanne Kershaw and Sarah Saunders. Picture: Matthew Usher.

More than 70 businesses in Norfolk have come forward to offer skills and supplies needed to make PPE equipment for NHS workers.

Seventy four businesses have been logged through the central database, which has been combined with the leads of the New Anglia LEP and other partners, bringing the total active leads to more than 200.

MORE: Norfolk distilleries start making hand sanitiser to combat coronavirusHowever the Norfolk Resilience Forum, which is managing the campaign, has said more can be done.

Sarah Saunders, co-founder of the Black Shuck distillery in Fakenham, began collecting the equipment needed to make hand sanitiser at the end of February.

She said: “We were just starting to see the news out of China, and I bought some hand sanitiser while I was travelling abroad and realised we could make it because we had ethanol. We ordered everything we needed to make the gel to WHO guidelines, and campaigned with other distilleries nationally to speed up the processes to enable us to get the licenses we needed.”

You may also want to watch:

At first the team thought they would be adding a new service for suppliers, but their production has now grown to supply between 1000 and 1500 units a week for the Norfolk County Council.

“We got a call from the LEP because we’d been working with the council,” Ms Saunders said. “I’m really glad that it’s all now being coordinated.

Most Read

“If any other distilleries are thinking this is something they could do then I would urge them to get involved. Now isn’t the time for competition, it’s for doing whatever you can to help – even if that just means staying at home.”

Trevor Holden, head of the tactical coordination group, that is overseeing the delivery of the multi-agency response across Norfolk, said: “The response from our business community has been great and on behalf of all local agencies, I would like to thank everyone who has contacted us and offered support. It really shows people coming together to help protect our front line workers and save lives.

MORE: UEA producing 500 litres of sanitiser a day with help from Adnams“Producing additional PPE locally, and using stock which is unused in businesses which might currently be closed, will mean we can continue to have stocks available for the range of front line staff who are keeping out essential services running.

“This campaign will continue to run, so if you have stock of PPE – no matter how small – or can produce equipment, please make sure you get in touch.”

The equipment the campaign is currently asking for includes alcohol or ethanol-based sanitisers, chlorine-based wipes and disinfectants, as well as protective clothing such as face masks and visors, nitrile gloves, aprons, overshoes and eye protection.

If your business can help, please complete the simple contact form at https://newanglia.co.uk/data-capture-for-ppe-supply-during-covid/

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter