Sanders Coaches strike deal with Norfolk firm to provide PPE to drivers
PUBLISHED: 17:36 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:48 09 April 2020
A north Norfolk coach company has stepped up its efforts to protect customers and staff during the coronavirus crisis by agreeing a deal with a Norfolk firm to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to drivers.
Sanders Coaches, based in Holt, has already revised timetables and scrapped cash payments, and will now be providing face masks made by Loddon-based manufacturers Panel Graphic.
Sanders general manager Richard Pengelly said: “As a bus driver you can’t go two metres away from where customers board the buses – it’s not possible. We’re running services for NHS staff and care workers, who are likely to be in contact with [the virus].
“We’ve been struggling to protect drivers, and struggling to find PPE, but we’ve now found Panel Graphic who have been fantastic – they’re awesome.”
Panel Graphic will be making 50 face shields for Sanders, who operate services across north Norfolk, into Norwich and also to Great Yarmouth.
Mr Pengelly said they would likely receive the shields next week.
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Glen Long, of Panel Graphic, said the company was delighted to be providing PPE to frontline services and key workers.
He said: “So far we have made around 200,000 pieces of equipment for frontline sectors all across the UK.
“It’s moved very fast – last Thursday we had Norfolk County Council approval, on Friday we had Norfolk and Norwich Hospital approval and on Sunday we began production.”
The company is supplying these face shields at zero profit, charging £1.95 plus VAT per unit.
Mr Long said: “Usually we do work in the automotive industry – Porsche, McLaren, Rolls Royce and so on – this is a bit different, but a lot more rewarding.”
Last month, the travel firm’s managing director Charles Sanders said they had seen 20,000 fewer people use their services in the month leading up to March 13, while the government-mandated lockdown brought in on March 23 will mean that even fewer people use services, with only essential trips being allowed.
He also said the firm was making contingency plans for any eventuality.
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