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Local firms working hard to provide vital PPE gear




Care staff at Whitegates receive their delivery of visors made by AGI and kit bags and masks made by Ringwood Sewing Bees
Care staff at Whitegates receive their delivery of visors made by AGI and kit bags and masks made by Ringwood Sewing Bees

COMPANIES have been pulling out the stops to try to meet the need for protective equipment on the coronavirus frontline.

Items including face shields, masks and gowns are being created by a mix of repurposed production lines and volunteers across the New Forest and Christchurch area.

The action comes as the government is under increasing pressure to ease the flow of supplies. On Tuesday the Local Government Association said it was “urgent” that the national online PPE ordering system is fully rolled out as soon as possible for councils and care providers.

In New Milton a manufacturer is using its skill in bespoke plastic design. BEC Group in Gore Road, which has more than 40 years’ experience, was recently approached for help by two UK supply companies.

The work includes helping with large-scale manufacture of protective face shields for not-for-profit group Protecting Heroes, with prototypes tested by the critical care team at the Royal London Hospital.

The small team have been working around the clock, while adhering to social distancing, taking the projects from idea to final drawings in hours rather than days.

Berthon's Luke Machin delivers hand cream to Lymington hospital
Berthon's Luke Machin delivers hand cream to Lymington hospital

Four of its staff are currently working on the tooling and design aspects, but 18 colleagues will return to the company when the masks and visors go into production.

Managing director Geoff Elvy said: “I am really proud of the BEC team who are working so diligently, safely and thoroughly to tackle these time-sensitive projects.”

Berthon Boat Company, based by Lymington River, gave face masks to the Coastal Medical Partnership in New Milton after its supply was delayed. Manager Luke Machin also dropped off lotion to Lymington hospital after a Facebook post about the staff’s sore hands.

The high-protection FPP3 masks are usually used by Berthon staff when using high-powered spraying equipment to apply paint to vessels.

A partnership spokesperson said: “This donation is fantastic, very much appreciated and has dug the practice out of a hole due to the delayed deliveries from our suppliers.”

The Ringwood Coronavirus Assistance (RCA) delivered PPE equipment to care homes and local hospitals after a co-operative effort by the community and local businesses.

Bournemouth University student Ben Butler persuaded Poole-based manufacturer AGI, where he is undertaking a work placement, to make visors with its 3D printers, which were added to with elastic from Ringwood Fabrics.

Care staff at Oak Mount receive their delivery of visors made by AGI
Care staff at Oak Mount receive their delivery of visors made by AGI

Local sewers, co-ordinated by Ringwood Actions for Climate Emergency, have been making reusable masks and 1,000 washable kit bags.

Town councillor John Haywood, RCA founder, said: “This is yet another great example of the community and local businesses coming together to help those on the frontline in these very challenging times.”

A charity which supports injured servicemen and women is doing its bit by raising £1,500 to buy emergency equipment. Pilgrim Bandits, based in New Milton, has set itself a target of collecting £5,000 for local ambulance stations and police units.

It has organised fundraising events, including remote quizzes, raffles and video-conference house parties. Donate via www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/Emergency-personnel-appeal



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