South Norfolk Council supports local business in switch to PPE face shields for front line workers

A South Norfolk manufacturing company which switched production to PPE face shields to support the NHS and frontline workers is now making them available for a wide range of sectors where staff will interact with the public post-lockdown including retail workers, schools and businesses.

The team at Panel Graphic converted their production facilities after the Government called on manufacturers for help in providing face shields and protective clothing for NHS workers. In less than a week the Loddon based business was making 10,000 face shields per day which were distributed to hospitals across Norfolk and Suffolk and the East Anglia Ambulance Service.

The company produces specialist plastics for Bentley Motors and McLaren Automotive, industrial technology equipment, marine aviation and electronic displays. The managing director Steve Earl initially contacted South Norfolk’s Business Support Team who were able to put him in touch with the relevant departments.

Panel Graphics managing director Steve Earl said: “Without the support of South Norfolk Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) I would not have been brave enough to invest in the switchover costs. I wanted to help the NHS and support the wider community and this felt like the right thing to do.

“We have supplied more than 200,000 face shields to NHS workers, care homes, the ambulance service and other frontline staff and that is just across Norfolk and Suffolk. We supplied 150,000 of these at no profit to support the NHS and frontline staff. We are now talking to businesses and other organisations about supplying face shields to their staff as people start to go back to work post-lockdown and want to stay safe.”

South Norfolk Council cabinet member Lisa Neal said “The Council is doing all it can to support our local businesses and we were really pleased to be able to point Steve and his team in the right direction. This is a local company who wanted to do their bit to help all those on the front line and the wider community. What they achieved in such a short space of time is remarkable.”

Mr Earl said he was so proud of his staff and the many volunteers who had helped him and continue to help him produce the face shields. The masks are lightweight, can be used multiple times and sterilised by being washed in a dishwasher.

Courtesy of South Norfolk Council – 06/05/2020

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