Coronavirus update: the latest news from East Midlands businesses

Mansfield-based Deanestor, the furniture and fit out specialist, has provided clinical equipment to three of the NHS field hospitals – Harrogate, Glasgow and Birmingham.

Two projects were completed for principal contractor BAM Construct UK and with architects BDP, supplying a total of 12 lorry loads of specialist equipment to the Harrogate Convention Centre which was converted into an NHS Nightingale Hospital.

Clinical workbenches and modular storage units totalling 500 items were offloaded, unpacked and delivered just 48 hours after receiving each instruction. This project has delivered a 500-bed level-three critical care field hospital for COVID-19 patients for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

At the Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow, Deanestor worked with principal contractor Balfour Beatty, and Robertson Group, Graham Group and Kier Group, supplying a range of specialist clinical equipment including healthcare benching, drug cabinets, medi rails and storage solutions. These were delivered from the factory in Mansfield in just a few days.

The NEC in Birmingham was also converted into a new Nightingale field hospital, designed by BDP, to provide additional capacity for the NHS with clinical space for 800 patients. Working with Interserve for University Hospitals Birmingham, Deanestor supplied specialist clinical equipment including workbenches and storage space, which were delivered to site within 24 hours of receiving the instruction.

William Tonkinson, managing director of Deanestor, said: “We were very pleased to be part of the fantastic work that has been underway across the UK to support our NHS. A huge thank you to our logistics, despatch and fitout teams for making these projects happen in just a few days and in some cases working over weekends. The level of collaboration and speed of each project was incredible and is a credit to everyone involved and the UK construction industry.”

Newark-based specialist façade and cladding contractor, Task Contract Services, has used a six-figure Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan from NatWest, to safeguard the future of the business.

The £250,000 finance package will assist with cash flow and employee wages, providing for the adverse impact of project site closures.

Task Contract Services was founded in 2000 and operates as a sub-contractor in the specialist cladding sector. The firm has seven office staff and 30 site operatives working on projects across the country including hotels, universities, student accommodation, schools and residential apartment blocks.

Adrian Cowell, director at Task Contract Services, said: “It has been a challenging time navigating the construction sector. Where we have been able to continue working on sites, we have made sure to do so safely and by adhering to social distancing measures.

“However, on projects where we’ve had to cease operations, we are continuing to incur expenditure. As this is clearly not sustainable, we turned to NatWest to help us review our finances. We have banked with NatWest since we first launched in 2000 and it has always been supportive to us over the years but even more so at this time of greater need due to Covid-19.

“Our relationship manager Lucy and the rest of the team have been incredible and the CBILS process was really quick, putting our minds at rest from very early on. As some sites begin to open again, albeit with skeleton staff and adopting safe working procedures, we are well-placed to continue operating as a business.”

Lucy Dykes, NatWest senior relationship manager, said: “At NatWest, our priority remains supporting local businesses like Task Contract Services through this challenging time. We helped Adrian secure the CBILS funding quickly to ensure the business had everything it needed to continue operating going forward.”

Ian and Marilyn Briggs

Locked in with… Marilyn Briggs, Croft Printing & Central Helicopters

Who are you locked-in with?
With my husband Ian, who is a co-director of Croft Printing and Central Helicopters. He’s grounded too, but has lots of grass mowing to keep on top of so the heliport landing pads are maintained!

Oh, and our parrot – Stanley!

How has the lockdown and working from home been for you so far?
It’s been much better than I thought. It’s very weird in a sense that everything seems so much quieter. Our house is next to the heliport adjacent to main A46 dual carriageway, so there’s usually lots of traffic…  and not having our children and grandchildren popping in also very strange. We both miss our family enormously.

What has been the best thing about staying in?
I’m a big believer in keeping fit. It refreshes the mind and restores my mental health. I always feel much more alive and alert after exercise and not having to drive to the office has given me extra time to focus on fitness. I’ve been running more on my treadmill and using my resistance bands and weights so much more, and I’ve even found a skipping rope

And what have you missed the most?
Being able to get hold of my grandsons and give them big “I love you” squeezes.

What previously essential thing have you realised is not actually essential?
I’ve realised that I really don’t have to be in the office.

Croft Printing provides a lot of food manufacturers, processors and retailers with self-adhesive labels and over labelling services. The recent rise in demand for ready meals, hand sanitisers and other essential goods has meant a surge in demand so the production staff have been operational. As we are BRC certified, we already work to very high health and hygiene standards and so it has been easy to ensure we all follow the social distancing guidelines in order to help the food supplies reach supermarkets.

What are the changes you’ve made that you plan on continuing when restrictions are lifted?
I think I am going to try and carry on working from home as much as possible and make use of technology. As I’ve more and more accustomed to working from home I’ve realised that I can trust and delegate to the team.

Have you made progress on any of your bucket list items?
I’ve been in remission from cancer since 2015, so I don’t really have a bucket list as I think I’m enjoying eternal life already!  My next goal is to live to 100 and receive a telegram from our Monarch!

What is the first thing you will do when isolation ends?
Definitely get all the family together here for a weekend and have some belated birthday parties. We’ve missed our three grandson’s 1st and 3rd birthdays and my husband Ian had to remind me that it was also our 39th wedding anniversary too! Couldn’t remember the number of years.