Derry City & Strabane - Local businesses step up to help in battle against COVID-19




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Local businesses step up to help in battle against COVID-19

06 April 2020
Several local businesses are playing their role in helping the Western Trust navigate the Coronavirus pandemic.
While many businesses across the North West have had to suspend their normal service, they are instead putting resources into boosting supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser and other valuable healthcare items, and working on how they can assist the most vulnerable in our community to navigate this difficult period.
Some of the local companies who have stepped in to provide vital equipment to the Western Trust include O'Neills and Moville Clothing, who have both been making scrubs for healthcare workers.
Newbuildings based company Liquid Creations are currently producing 1,000 bottles of hand sanitiser per hour, and are also providing free supplies for selected local charities who can distribute to older people and those in need. Similarly, the Walled City Brewery are currently in discussions on whether they can produce hand sanitiser using their in-house distillation process. 
Elemental Software have used their online social prescribing platform to help the NHS, Councils and several community sectors to work together through the crisis and ensure that those most vulnerable are cared for.
North West Regional College, through its Business Support Centre (BSC) and Product Design Centre (PDC), have been producing PPE using 3D printing and laser cutting, while the Nerve Centre has also done the same.
Meanwhile, Aeroblue Software has developed a home delivery platform which can be used for both consumer home delivery services and larger scale commercial applications. The system is integrated with online payment merchants and offers users the ability to add/edit products and run reports for order processing and delivery.
The Greater Shantallow Arts are also assisting through their Studio 2 Moji project, working in collaboration with community groups and agencies across the city to supply around 200 meals a day to those in need.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Michaela Boyle, thanked all the businesses who continue to play a role in assisting the health service and helping in the fight against COVID-19.
"All of us are deeply thankful to every company who has taken it upon themselves to do what they can to play a positive role in this difficult fight that we have on our hands.
"The staff of the Western Trust and the whole NHS are working tirelessly and its only right that they receive any and all assistance that we as a society can provide.
"It's also important that we continue to look out for our elderly and those most vulnerable in our community, and local businesses are playing a vital role in doing that.
"My sincere thanks to all those companies who are doing everything they can."
Jim Roddy, CEO of the City Centre Initiative, agreed that it was heartening to see local businesses getting involved.
"Of course, it's a strange feeling to see our normally bustling streets so empty at the minute, but it's a sacrifice we have to make to reach a common goal, and I think it's really heartening to see so many companies going out of their way to do what they can.
"There is strength in unity, and our local businesses have typified that in making a decision to prioritise our health service, our vulnerable people, and the betterment of our community, and they deserve high praise for that.
"It is also important to commend all of the businesses which closed to avoid the spread of COVID-19 before any business support packages were put in place. They put the health of our citizens before business interests."
Redmond McFadden, President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, commented: "It's a tough and uncertain time for a lot of local businesses, but it's heartening to see them utilising their resources to help those most in need.
"The focus over the next few months will be on how we can keep all of these businesses on track and reduce the negative impact on our local economy, but for now we are all thinking about an end to this crisis, and the assistance that our local companies are providing to help reach that end is admirable."
Chief Executive of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Dr Anne Kilgallen, extended the sincerest thanks of the Western Trust to local businesses and communities on their kind and generous donations and support during this very challenging time.
"In an effort to manage donations and ensure that people are not coming to our hospital sites unnecessarily, the Trust have established a drop off site at Pascal McDonald House in Gransha Park, open from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday," said Dr Kilgallen.
"Any offers to donate unperishable food/snack items, personal care items and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be directed to or (028) 7186 5127 to allow us to advise drop off sites of anticipated deliveries. 
"We will ensure that all donations are distributed widely to our staff in the hospitals and wards as well as those working all across the community.
"PPE supplies will support staff safety, whilst some items will go towards 'comfort packs' for those staff working long hours, staff who may be staying away from home in temporary accommodation or our staff moving between different clients in the community setting."
Any businesses who are interested in getting involved in the fight against Coronavirus can contact Council's Business Support team on 02871253253. The team are also on hand to provide advice and guidance to any business owners who are in need during this difficult period. More information is available on