April 15, 2020 @ 13:36 by Richard Dawson
The North East business community has rallied to supply and support the manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency services.
The North East England Chamber of Commerce launched an appeal last month to encourage regional business leaders to get involved and has received an overwhelming response.
Firms have helped out through everything from donations of hand sanitiser to manufacturing visors for front-line NHS staff as well as helping transport test kits and equipment around the region.
Jonathan Walker, assistant director of policy at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have had a tremendous response to our appeal from so many of our members, from SMEs to larger corporate businesses such as Go North East.
“The NHS is in urgent need of essential supplies so we’re very pleased to be in a position to put the trusts in touch with companies that can help.”
One example is Tees Valley finance director, Anthony Finegan. Anthony’s day job is working on the HS2 project through his TotalFD business, but he uses his spare time to support a wide range of projects.
He is chair of Bloodrun EVS, for example, which provides out of hours courier services to the NHS free of charge.
The charity has expanded its operations in light of the unprecedented demand on the NHS and has been asked to provide support to the North Tees volunteer driver service and also James Cook Dispatch lounge & bed bureau.
This is as well as their traditional function of providing the vital transports of tests and equipment around the region and supporting Tees Valley GP surgeries.
Anthony Finegan first became involved in the charity six years ago and it has now grown to have four motorbikes and four cars at its disposal.
He said: “Bloodrun EVS and my own business wanted to do some good in these uncertain times.
“Through the support of other North East England Chamber of Commerce members like Teesside Philanthropic we are hopefully taking some of the pressure off the NHS, even in a small way.”
As well as the charitable donations, he also helped to organise his local pub the Blacksmiths Arms at Swainby to use its 3D printers to produce essential visors for health professionals.
He added: “I can’t begin to thank all of the fantastic people who are getting behind our projects. It is fantastic. We are now also receiving free fuel from BP which means our money will go even further.”
Bloodrun EVS is a virtual tenant of Commerce House, where the Chamber also has its Tees Valley office.