Coronavirus: PPE fundraising initiative in Cumbria smashes target14 April 2020

A fund set up to provide PPE (personal protective equipment) for medical teams and district nursing staff has smashed its £20,000 target.

Members of Unite, GMB, and Prospect unions at Sellafield in Cumbria, who launched the community fundraising campaign, revealed the target had been hit, with £20,274 raised by noon on Easter Sunday and a new aim of raising £30,000 created.

A statement on the group’s GoFundMe page said: “Happy Easter everyone, we just broke £20k. We, within the trade union community at Sellafield, could not be prouder of you all. A big thank you to everyone who has donated and shared our fundraiser. We are going to raise the target with the intention of sourcing more PPE.”

Forth Engineering, based in Maryport, Cleator Moor and Barrow, is among the businesses to have rallied to the community’s aid by trying to source the PPE. Through its contacts in China, and team member Dandan Arvin, Forth has already been able to source 6,000 masks and 6,000 gowns, destined to help keep nursing teams safe in West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, and across west Cumbria.

Forth MD Mark Telford (pictured) said: “The real heroes here are those medics, nurses and carers who are on the front line - whether in hospitals, district nursing teams, care homes, wherever they are - and the people who have gone out of their way to set up this fundraising campaign, and all those people who have donated.

“As a business which operates all over the world from Cumbria, we were just delighted to be able to use our business contacts in China to source this PPE. We didn’t want anyone to be suffering, or worried, because of a lack of PPE. We wanted to do anything we could to help.”

Telford continues: “The 6,000 masks and 6,000 gowns we have managed to source are due to arrive in the next couple of days. It’s taking a bit longer than usual at the moment because so many flights have been grounded.

“The team at Forth have always been community minded. We are very proud to be based in west Cumbria and Barrow. And we are pleased to be able to play our part in helping to keep our community safe during these difficult times.”

Forth has already donated 1,000 latex gloves from its own stores, and will look to source more PPE if and when it’s required. It has also used its expertise to invent a disinfecting robot to help in the fight against coronavirus.

People can donate to the PPE fundraising campaign by clicking here.

Adam Offord

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