April 21 coronavirus update for businesses

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Plumbs donates material for scrubs

Preston-based upholsterers and sofa cover maker Plumbs is helping to protect those at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic by donating 600m of fabric. The recipient is a local community initiative which is utilising in-home sewers to produce essential goods such as scrubs, scrub bags, headbands and ear savers. 

The Plumbs team decided to donate £5,000 in exchange for large volumes of royal blue and green scrub fabric, which they were to digitise and cut on their machines to return to the group for sewing. A small team of staff volunteered to come into the businesses Preston factory in order to help operate the machines, with the appropriate health and safety measures in place. Members of the Plumbs production team were also inspired to help, and many have dusted off their sewing machines at home to take on batches of the essential goods. All products produced will be distributed locally to Preston based hospitals and medical facilities.

Sarah Page, managing director, said: "In challenging times like these, it is important that those who can provide help, do so. We had been on the lookout for any way the company was able to assist, and with all the calls for more PPE, this seemed like the best way to offer our help and equipment. We were incredibly proud to see such enthusiasm from our team – this really is community spirit at its finest.

Aport helps deliver vital equipment for NHS

Aport, the Chorley-based specialist laboratory relocation and storage provider, is offering free support to the NHS. The company, which works with clients throughout the world, is taking the opportunity of closed borders to help the battle against coronavirus close to home.

The team helped Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust by moving eight ventilators, anaesthetic machines and X-ray between hospital sites at short notice. Crews were on site within the hour to pack and load the machines at Wrightington Hospital and transport them to the new covid-19 intensive care ward at Wigan Infirmary.

PM+M launches service to assist employers

PM+M is launching a new service that aims to help businesses navigate the complex process of furloughing their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The team will be headed up by Julie Mason, who will be working with the firm’s existing payroll clients, and by Jonathan Cunningham who will lead on matters for clients who use other PM+M services and for new businesses that instruct the firm.

They will offer support on the entire furlough process including preparing claims and calculations, making portal submissions and managing HMRC communications. The aim is to ensure that businesses are successful in their applications so they can focus on navigating their companies through the crisis and looking after their people over the coming months.

Jonathan said: "Whilst the employee furlough / Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is welcomed and will prove crucial for so many, the guidance can often seem confusing and is being updated on an almost daily basis. We want this new service to tackle those issues head on so businesses can access the grant quickly and easily allowing them to ensure their organisation survives and is in the strongest position possible when things return to normal."