NEAA members answer the call of the NHS and care workers

Members of the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) are supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to get much needed medical equipment and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to NHS and care workers.

To date, over 20 member companies, with more set to follow, have demonstrated their agility and innovation, including some that have put in place design and manufacturing capability.

Paul Butler, CEO, North East Automotive Alliance said: “Members of the NEAA have answered the call of the Government to come to the assistance of the NHS and care workers during this time of national emergency. We are very proud of the lightening-quick response from those who have mobilised at great speed and in some cases, in collaboration with other companies, to ensure a range of vitally needed medical and PPE equipment.”

As well as providing up to 100,000 face visors per week from its Sunderland plant, Nissan has provided funds for an injection moulding tool that increases the number of parts produced, which are now being sourced from companies in Lancashire, Coventry and Gateshead. Injection moulding provides a faster way to produce the plastic parts needed and Nissan has ramped up the volume.

The Sunderland City Council owned CESAM building, set up to provide manufacturing innovation support and the development of future vehicles technologies, has been transformed into a 460-bed Nightingale hospital.

From next week, Kasai UK, which supplies interior trim products to vehicle manufacturers across the UK, will be using its experienced seamstresses to produce much needed face masks for all frontline services.

Peter Watson, deputy managing director at Kasai UK, said “We have a team of talented and experienced seamstresses who are used to producing high quality interior trim products for the automotive sector. We will be using our skills to help protect the remarkable individuals at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19”.

Gateshead-based, Aspire Technology Solutions is involved in NHS Hero Support, a volunteer group which is getting more PPE to frontline NHS workers. Factory equipment supplier, Orgatex has developed visual management, including footprints and clear view floor to frames, to identify social distancing, while TR Fastenings is suppling components to build ventilators.

Flowstore, a lean manufacturing solution provider, has joined the Ventilator Challenge UK www.ventilatorchallengeuk.com and is developing NHS production and assembly lines for ventilator manufacture. Meanwhile, AMAP, which is part of the Faculty of Technology at the University of Sunderland, is supplying door handle adaptations and face mask production. Nice Network is supporting a healthcare app to help vulnerable self-isolators receive crucial support in the North East and NBT Group is supporting PPE and parts to NHS supply chains.

Recovery4Life is the only company in the North East region offering a test that identifies the Covid-19 variant strain and differentiates nine other non-lethal viruses with the same symptoms. The profits from the sale of its Covid-19 testing kits has gone towards a 20/20 scheme to fund Covid-19 test kits and PPE for essential workers.

John Devitt, CEO at Recovery4Life, said: “Recovery4Life’s 20/20 fund has raised almost £8,000 to support services for vulnerable people. To date we have bought and distributed over 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and facemasks and donated cash to foodbanks in the region. Recovery4Life has raised money for the fund by donating profits from the sale of Covid-19 testing to businesses.”

Details on the Recovery4Life Covid-19 testing, or the 20/20 fund, can be found at www.recovery4life.co.uk. The organisation would also be interested to hear from any frontline or community group that may be in need of some support.