Outdoor clothing brand Barbour to produce PPE for hospitals

Outdoor clothing company Barbour has volunteered to produce protective garments for hospital workers in the North East.

The company, which is based in South Shields, South Tyneside, will supply disposable gowns to the Royal Victoria Infirmry in Newcastle on Friday.

It will then move to a larger scale production of gowns and scrubs for the RVI and other North East NHS trusts to support frontline medical staff who are in urgent need of these items.

The move to switch production echoes a similar effort from Barbour’s history, when its factory was used to make military garments during both World Wars.

Company chairman Dame Margaret Barbour said “Everyone has a role to play in fighting COVID-19 and I wanted my daughter Helen and I to play our part by turning our South Shields factory over to produce PPE product for the NHS.

“Our staff’s welfare is our most important priority and we have undertaken a strict risk assessment to ensure we adhere to social distancing and that they are fully protected whilst undertaking this important role. I am very grateful to my staff for their overwhelming support.”

Barbour – which employs more than 150 people in South Shields and is one of the North East’s most recognisable brands on a national and international stage – last year celebrated its 125th anniversary.

The company and its family owners are known for their commitment to charitable causes in the region.

Dame Margaret added: “The factory where we normally make our classic wax jackets is no stranger to adaptation. During both World Wars, we turned the factory over to make military garments to assist the war effort.

“We are pleased to once again be able to make a difference and this time, to support the NHS.”

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