Staff at MCR Services in Cramlington have loaned two industrial sewing machines to support the manufacture of protective gowns for the NHS.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust set up a manufacturing and distribution hub in the town, in conjunction with other NHS organisations, businesses and volunteers to secure a supply of protective gowns for frontline staff.
When company chairman, Alan Moody, heard of the initiative, he recalled that MCR Services – a sister company of Moody Logistics and Storage – had two industrial sewing machines which were currently under-utilised.
He approached MCR’s production supervisor Matthew Fretwell, who got in touch with the Trust and then arranged for the machines to be delivered.
The family-run business, based on Bolam Business Park, provides a variety of services for the contract packing industry, including quality control inspection and sortation, labelling and packing, reworking and preparing products for distribution.
The machines, purchased to complete a specific reworking task now completed, were quickly delivered to the hub, located in a former car parts warehouse, where they are now being put to good use helping protect health workers.
Currently the machinists, which includes both Trust staff and volunteers, are producing thousands of gowns a week along with scrubs.
They are then supplied to the Trust’s own frontline teams as well as other healthcare workers across the North East and beyond.
Caroline Moody, group managing director, said: “This initiative is a great example of the NHS, local businesses and volunteers working together to achieve results.
“Everyone is tremendously grateful to all those dedicated staff in the NHS and we are pleased to do whatever we can to support them.
“In this case, it’s great to show our appreciation in a very practical way by producing protective gowns for those who are helping save lives.”
The facility allows the Trust to be more self-sufficient by being in control of production – from design to delivery – within the local area. It can accommodate up to 35 machinists and is capable of producing up to 6,000 gowns a week.
Paul Dunn, executive director of finance at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to thank MCR Services for donating these sewing machines to us which are being put to good use in our manufacturing hub at Cramlington.
“We have had a huge, positive response from local businesses, organisations and partners and this is yet another example of the community pulling together to support us at this time.
“Not only are we producing gowns to protect our staff and patients, and those at trusts across the region, by setting up a sustainable supply chain, we are providing employment and helping to boost the local economy.”