Coronavirus update: the latest new from West Midlands businesses

Alloy Wire International has been commissioned to produce more than 5 km of material that will be used to produce crucial parts for use in life-saving equipment destined for the groundbreaking Nightingale Hospital in London.

The company, which holds more than 200 tonnes of EU/DFARS compliant stock at any one time, put its Emergency Manufacturing Service (EMS) into action to meet the urgent requirements of a spring maker that is supplying into the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium to assist in the ramp-up of Smiths and Penlon Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator Systems.

Interest has also come from North America and South Korea, with AWI supplying urgent quantities of custom-made Inconel spring wire and 316v Stainless Steel to a spring maker in Wisconsin and a major medical centre in Seoul respectively.

“We work with over 5000 customers every year and we knew a lot of them supplied into critical sectors that deliver essential services,” explained Mark Venables, managing director of Alloy Wire International.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this sharply into view and, over the last week, we have been busy manufacturing a range of wire for companies that are playing a crucial role in supporting the frontline, often meeting extremely demanding timelines in the process.”

Central England Co-op is today (7 April) rolling out a 10% discount to all NHS workers to say thank you for their efforts working on the frontline to help tackle the Coronavirus.

All NHS workers have to do is show their ID card when they visit any of the retailer’s 242 food stores to receive 10% off all food and other essentials.

They will also be able to get priority access to Central England Co-op stores by moving to the front of any external queue when waiting to enter.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op chief executive, said: “Our NHS workers are playing a vital role at this uncertain time and that’s why we wanted to do something to say thank you for their incredible efforts.

“Front line workers, similar to our own colleagues in our stores and funeral homes, are essential to ensuring communities continue to be helped and supported and we cannot thank them enough for their efforts.”

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is placing the majority of its staff on temporary leave under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to cut costs and protect jobs against the impact of the global pandemic.

As the independent charity, which cares for Shakespeare heritage in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Trust relies on the annual income generated by visitors from around the world, mainly in the summer months. The five Shakespeare family homes and gardens, shops, cafes and the Shakespeare Centre have been closed since 16 March and the Trust is now facing a substantial shortfall in its income.

The charity is placing 221 members of staff on furlough. The Trust has 28 staff who are not covered by the Scheme and will be undertaking a consultation process with them.

A Staffordshire employer has stepped in to lend its support to the county’s army of care workers following an appeal last week.

Engineering firm GE Renewables, base in Stafford, has donated a package of personal protective equipment (PPE) after an appeal was made by the county council and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce.

The county council needs PPE for its care workers which includes those in adult and children social care, care homes, nursing homes and front-line social workers during the Covid-19 outbreak period.

The PPE package included 83 pairs of safety glasses, 280 masks and 600 pairs of gloves.

GE Renewables’ Steve Cook said: “With the support of the UK Grid Solutions leadership team, Jacqui Hodgkinson, Gary Jones and I raided our supplies and were able to put together a significant package of materials to help protect this group of key workers.

“During these difficult times it’s important that local businesses and the public sector work together more than ever than before to deal with this crisis.

“We at GE Renewables were very pleased to be able to provide some practical support in this way.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...