In the fight against COVID-19, Calderdale Council is working with local organisations who are donating or producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for our hardworking staff in the NHS and social care, and is calling on Government for an urgent, longer-term solution to the national PPE shortage.
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who is courageously and selflessly helping to save lives and deliver essential services to our communities at this unprecedented time.
“Our staff delivering personal care in the NHS, the Council and providers rely on PPE to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. At the moment, we have sufficient supplies where the need is critical, and we continue to follow national guidance to make sure the equipment is used safely. But the situation is very tight, and it is vital to increase the amount available so we can reassure staff and residents. So every action that can be taken to increase the supply is welcome, and I support the West Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum’s call for the Government to declare this situation as a national emergency.”
Robin Tuddenham, Chief Executive of Calderdale Council and Co-Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared, the region’s Local Resilience Forum, added: “The Local Resilience Forum and our staff in the Council really appreciate the efforts and support of local businesses, schools and our partners in providing PPE they’re not using, or manufacturing new PPE to boost supplies. We know that some Calderdale businesses and schools are already going the extra mile to do this, and we thank them all for their amazing efforts and kindness.
“Whilst Calderdale is stepping up to provide this interim solution to the PPE shortage, and West Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum continues to work hard to address the issue, I urge the Government to ensure a much-needed, longer-term national solution, and declare the PPE shortage a national emergency, to ensure key workers and our most vulnerable residents get the protection they so urgently need.”
Kind donations of PPE such as face masks, safety goggles, gloves and visors are coming in from a range of local organisations and individuals. This supports the efforts of the NHS and other key frontline roles, such as social workers and staff working in people’s homes, care homes and children’s services.
One example of the incredible united effort to produce PPE in Calderdale is the work of Nick Barber, design and technology teacher, and his colleagues at The Crossley Heath School in Halifax. Nick used his talent and innovation to design a face shield, in line with national specifications, and along with his team he is now laser-cutting 56 self-assembly face shields an hour, then packing them for distribution to frontline workers across Calderdale. All items are cleaned before being packed and come with simple instructions. The production is being funded by Calderdale Council and The Crossley Heath School.
Nick said: “I'm really pleased to be able to do something to help the brave people working on the frontline. Cutting bits of plastic is the least I can do to support and provide protection for people.”
Lynette Cassidy, Headteacher at Crossley Heath, added: “We’re very proud of what Nick and his team are doing and are delighted to be able to support his project to make these vital masks.”
Further supplies of PPE are still needed. The Council is supporting the work of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and their partner organisations to help businesses get PPE to health and social care workers.