Vital PPE and emergency food parcels going out to those most in need

Published Thursday, 30th April 2020

More than 300,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have been distributed by the County Council to those most in need since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In total 95,000 face masks, 145,000 gloves and 64,000 aprons have been packaged up and sent out to care homes, domiciliary care providers, social care staff, GP surgeries and other key care giving organisations throughout Worcestershire.

Around 4,000 litres of hand sanitiser was also sourced within the first few weeks and this was quickly distributed to 179 Worcestershire care homes.

As well as PPE, the Council has also co-ordinated the distribution of emergency food parcels to the most vulnerable people in the community. To date, 1,516 people have been sent one of the parcels including people who are unable to leave their homes, homeless shelters and care homes.

A logistics team was set up as part of the County Council’s Covid-19 emergency response. The team’s initial focus was to source stocks of PPE, hand sanitiser and a reliable food supply chain to meet the emerging need. Brand new processes for logging requests and responding to them were established, as well as securing distribution sites in the county.

The whole effort has been co-ordinated by the Council’s Procurement Team which has been instrumental in the supply and distribution of essential items during the Coronavirus crisis, working alongside other council colleagues and partner organisations such as the NHS.

Councillor John Smith, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We know how important PPE is to our care homes and care staff to help prevent the spread of this terrible virus.

“In these extremely challenging times, I’m delighted with all the effort that has gone into sourcing and packaging, and then getting these items out to those who need them the most. It’s been a real team effort and colleagues have been working round the clock to get it all done as quickly as they can.”

Alison Atkinson from the Procurement Team at the County Council, added: “A month ago none of us could have predicted what we would be doing on a daily basis.

“Everyone works together to the same aim - Monday to Friday - with an emergency service in operation over the weekend to attempt to deliver a county wide supply of such a valuable and much needed commodity.

“On a personal note this has been both a humbling, challenging at times but incredibly rewarding experience.”

The Council is working closely with NHS partners to get items out from the Community Equipment Store in Worcestershire. Requests for PPE are recorded, and then they are picked and boxed up three times daily and transported out by NHS drivers.

Food parcels are being delivered to people daily, with requests monitored by Worcestershire Public Health through the Here2 Help community helpline. Emergency food parcels are distributed nearly always on the same day as the request is received.

The Lakeview Café at County Hall has been temporarily turned into a food distribution facility. Staff from Servest, the catering company that runs the café, have been working hard to pack hundreds of food parcels two days a week.

The packages contain nutritious, fresh food items that are delivered out to homes or sent to voluntary organisations who cook for people who are homeless or living in hostels. The Servest staff are working alongside County Enterprises to ensure timely and correct deliveries.

The County Council’s Community Transport Team then helps with the deliveries each day.