Ministry of Furniture repurposes facilities to help in fight against COVID-19

Ministry of Furniture and sister company Ministry Graphics are making their contribution to the fight against COVID-19 by repurposing their facilities to make equipment to help frontline key workers.

From its Group factory in Ystalyfera, the Ministry Graphics team has repurposed its machinery and facilities to allow it to make disposable face shields that can be used by frontline healthcare workers. It aims to be making as many as 500 a day at the site within a week.

It will be supplying the face shields to organisations at a heavily discounted price and, for every item it sells, it will also donate £1 to NHS charity the Swansea Bay Health Charity. It will also give the first 200 face shields it makes away to local frontline workers often neglected in the current crisis including care home workers, local pharmacies and public transport operatives.

It is also applying its philosophy of recycling and upcycling materials to the process wherever possible by re-using plastic offcuts from other jobs that would otherwise be discarded.

Elsewhere, Ministry is working with construction company Andrew Scott and Neath Port Talbot Council on the new temporary hospital being built at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport, which will have 340 beds to help fight COVID-19.

It will supply and fit more than 400 linear metres of polycarbonate screens that will be sealed on top of partitions within the hospital, allowing doctors and nurses to easily view multiple patients at the same time, while also providing a protective barrier between them.

In what one might call a twist of fate, its installer Rob McCusker, the former Ospreys backrow player, will be returning to his former training camp to help fit the protective screens. Rob joined Ministry last year after a long and successful career as a professional rugby player that ended at the Ospreys.

Graham Hirst, managing director of Ministry of Furniture, said: “The more we read about some of the inspirational stories emerging as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the more we wanted to help – and we have now worked out how.

“Our staff do not have specialist medical training; we could not build ventilators. But we are pretty good at manufacturing things – and we have an adaptable and versatile workforce.

“We have used the skillsets of our remarkable team to repurpose our machinery and facilities to allow us to make products that will be of using on the frontline of fighting COVID-19.

“At all our sites, we will, of course, be following all government protocols and advice including the new Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which align with guidance from Public Health England, and social distancing measures.”

Matthew Anderson, managing director, Ministry Graphics, added: “We’re delighted to be involved particularly because Ministry is a group of businesses with social aims. Adapting our skillsets and getting products to the market in such a short timescale has put us to the test, but I feel we’ve risen to the challenge.”

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