When the Welsh Government was notified that the Far East and sub-continent would be partially closing down production at the end of March as a result of coronavirus, it took immediate action to secure a large amount of fabric from within the UK market so that it could be used to produce up to 2500 scrubs per week in Wales.
The Welsh Government passed the fabric it has purchased straight to Alexandra, a UK based company that supplies the NHS with scrubs but is heavily reliant on overseas markets for both material and production. As Alexandra were low on supplies, they were more than happy to take this material on.
The Welsh Government then linked Alexandra with Welsh business and social enterprises that could assist with the sewing of garments and production is now underway at three sites across Wales. These are:
- ELITE Clothing Solutions, a social enterprise based in Ebbw Vale and within the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce area, which had previously furloughed its staff as a result of lock down. It now has 15 machinists back in work to support the Welsh effort to produce scrubs
- Brodwaith, on Anglesey, which has 13 to 15 people coming back from furlough to assemble the much needed PPE
- Workplace Worksafe, in Ruthin, which has 13 machinists back from furlough working on the assembling scrubs.
All these employees are now back to receiving full pay.
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters, who has responsibility for the Valleys Taskforce, said:
“Ensuring our healthcare heroes have the equipment they need to do their jobs at this unprecedented time is of paramount importance.
“We are working hard to supply the NHS as it provides high-quality care for people with coronavirus, and we will continue to do so.
“We have also been able to foster an opportunity to secure supply of much needed material and join together three Welsh enterprises to join us in fighting this national health crisis.
“Together, we will continue to protect frontline staff and in turn help them save lives.”
ELITE Clothing Solutions CEO Andrea Wayman said:
“ELITE Clothing Solutions are extremely proud to be supporting the NHS, through a collaborative approach with other Welsh manufacturers, in our production of garments that will help protect NHS staff in the fight against COVID-19.
“As a social enterprise, our key aim is the support of our communities, and the NHS and care sector are currently central to our communities’ needs.”