Local companies rally to provide protective equipment, as more than 70 council staff retrain to give care to vulnerable

Published: Wednesday, 8th April 2020

Local companies are helping to ensure that frontline council care workers are supplied with personal protective equipment through the coronavirus pandemic.

Local companies are helping to ensure that frontline council care workers are supplied with personal protective equipment through the coronavirus pandemic.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been working with a number of suppliers to ensure its care staff have the equipment they need to deliver vital services to vulnerable residents.

Suppliers such as Stoke-based Kirklands Staffordshire have provided masks, over-sleeve protectors, gloves, hand sanitisers and aprons, and Stoke-based Fenn1875 have provided masks, aprons, body protection suits and gloves.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “These are unprecedented times, and demand for personal protective equipment right across the country is high. The hard work of local suppliers to respond quickly to the crisis and accommodate this spike in demand has been fantastic, and I thank all of the businesses in our city who are rallying around at this time to make a huge difference in helping to ensure vulnerable people in the city can receive the help they need.

“We deliver home care to more than 1,500 residents who need our support more than ever at this most testing of times. It is important that we are able to protect both residents and our staff from the risk of spreading the disease, and by having a range of personal protective equipment available, it means we can continue to respond appropriately to individual residents’ needs.

“Local suppliers are also doing a tremendous job in supporting private sector care providers. We thank them all for their continued hard work at this time.”

Louise Harris, managing director of Fenn1875, said: “We have an experienced and dedicated team and have been working tirelessly with our supply chain partners to support care homes both locally and nationally. We have been supplying key workers and large institutions like the city council to ensure as much as we can, that they have the correct protection and janitorial product to enable them to provide the necessary care. Our offices and warehouse remain open to support them”.

A Kirklands Staffordshire spokesman said: “We at Kirklands are very proud to be able to support the council and other front line workers in their efforts towards tackling the Covid-19 pandemic through the provision of personal protective equipment.”

Businesses who are able to donate PPE are encouraged to contact #StokeonTrentTogether, a campaign by the council and voluntary sector organisation VAST to support communities through the pandemic. They can do this by visiting the website www.corona19.vast.org.uk, or calling 0800 5615610.

Meanwhile, more than 70 council employees from services that have temporarily stopped or have reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic have completed adult social care training to support the effort to care for city residents in their own homes. As part of the #StokeCares campaign, staff have completed intensive training courses to safely handle and move vulnerable residents, and adult safeguarding training in infection control and the administration of medication.

Councillor Brown said: “Staff have redeployed from leisure, housing and a range of other services and are joining the frontline. We have a public recruitment campaign and need residents to come forward to make a difference too. It is a big challenge, but a rewarding one. You can help people who need our help the most.”

As part of the scheme all recruited carers will be given:

  • Training by experienced and qualified council teams, in areas including safeguarding adults and administering medication and supporting vulnerable people.
  • Shadowing opportunities with experienced existing staff, with on-the-job training for providing one-to-one care with individuals.
  • Personal protective equipment to safeguard against the spread of the virus.

The role also includes general tasks such as ensuring individuals have their correct medication, have enough to eat and drink, and can get dressed, get up and/or go to bed safely. Recruits will also be asked to complete wellbeing checks such as reporting any health or mental health concerns.

Those who provide personal care – such as bathing and helping people go to the toilet – will also be given an additional monthly payment on top of the normal wage which is expected to be an additional £200 a month for someone who works full-time.

It is expected applicants will already have:

  • A caring and compassionate nature
  • Good communication and listening skills
  • The ability to prioritise workloads

A background in care is not necessary as full training will be provided, although it is helpful.

Anybody interested in #StokeCares can visit https://www.stoke.gov.uk/jobs and search for ‘Casual Care Worker (Personal Wellbeing Assistant)’ or can call 01782 238019 for more information.

A summary of the Coronavirus Act 2020 which passed into law on 26 March is available here
For more information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit Public Health England and the NHS

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.