Pendle businesses step up to meet coronavirus challenge

A number of Pendle businesses have repurposed their manufacturing, producing tens of thousands of items to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick's engineers, while working from home, are using 3D printers to create face visor shields for the NHS and other key workers, including care home staff, teachers and postal workers.

You can help the Rolls-Royce team to buy the 3D printing filament material and acetate sheets to speed up the supply of visors. Donate here.

Gemma Dixon, of Rolls Royce, said: "Very quickly, this went from a handful of engineers printing using home hobby 3D printers, to a team of 28 people, all volunteering their time. Due to everyone's kind donations, over 3,300 visors to date have been given away free-of-charge, and we have over 20 printers now making visors."

Luxury raincoat manufacturer Mackintosh, in Nelson, produced 12,000 medical scrubs per week before the NHS was able to rely once again on its usual supplier.

Stephen Lees, production director, said: "Once the lockdown was in place, we stopped production and contacted our industry network to see if we could help the NHS. Within days we changed the factory from a range of different colours of luxury coats to a sea of NHS blue.

Within days we changed the factory from a range of different colours of luxury coats to a sea of NHS blue.

“And when our freight brokers heard about the change in production, they offered to ship all NHS products free of charge!"

School tie manufacturer William Turner, also based in Nelson and inspired by a visit to Mackintosh, has now successfully trialled making protective snood masks for the NHS and aims to make 30,000 a week.

John Turner from William Turner said: “We are very lucky to have the manufacturing space in our new build factory in Nelson to be able to operate in a fully socially distant way. Our amazing team did not hesitate to turn their skills to helping the NHS in this time of need."

Richard Sutton, formerly of Weston Aerospace engineers in Pendle, who established the Sutton Pendle Charitable Trust, is helping to supply local organisations with PPE.

He said: “A month ago when I heard about the shortage of PPE I decided to try and address the problem. My aim was to plug the gaps locally to help care homes, hospices and local organisations and businesses keep people safe.

“Then I was approached by the Lancashire Resilience Forum and things scaled up significantly to support organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria, including the NHS and the social care network. We’re now supplying over 30 million PPE items to the Lancashire Resilience Forum and hundreds of thousands of items locally."

Councillor Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said: "A wide range of fantastic companies in Pendle have switched production to support the NHS in the battle to beat the COVID-19 virus. We are immensely proud of their efforts and are urging other companies to see if they can help during this crisis."

  • Companies can donate any spare Personal Protective Equipment such as surgical gloves, protective aprons,  surgical masks and visors via Pendle Council’s web page:  www.pendle.gov.uk/coronavirus
  • Businesses looking to share their expertise, equipment and more can get involved through the government’s coronavirus business support website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support  under the heading How You Can Help.
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