PPE is now already in active use on the Covid-19 front line following the first delivery to Mencap, one of Britain’s largest providers of social care. Having delivered more than 7.5million items of essential equipment to the NHS and care homes, the focus is now expanding to include the charity sector.
One of the first to make use of our PPE are the staff at Mencap’s Valley Road residence in Nottingham. It has remained infection-free throughout the pandemic. Valley Road is a much-loved home to nine adults with varying forms of learning disabilities, supported by a team of regular care workers.
When the coronavirus crisis began, it caused a very specific set of additional problems for the staff and for residents. The staff were instructed to wear PPE, especially face masks. They were particularly concerned at the impact this might have on the residents if they could not see familiar faces. But there can be no compromise with PPE in care settings like this, where a virus can spread through a communal space in no time.
‘We did worry how they would adapt to all these changes,’ says support worker Ellen McCarthy.
‘But I have to say that we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well everyone has coped.’
In the early days of the pandemic, staff found themselves worrying where the next batch of PPE was coming from.
‘We never ran out but our area manager was driving all over the place to make sure,’ says assistant manager Anna McMahon.
Now, though, there are no such worries thanks to the generosity of donors to Mail Force.
The charity will be delivering hundreds of thousands of pieces of PPE to Mencap’s regional offices over the coming weeks, ensuring there is a steady supply for the charity’s 8,500 workers across the UK for months to come.
And at a time when fundraising operations have fallen through the floor, it will ensure scarce funds can be diverted to continue other essential work.
‘It just makes life so much easier for everyone,’ says Ellen, as the staff and residents all gather round to give a big round of thanks to Mail Force.