Having produced half a million protective aprons for front line health care workers, Nissan Sunderland is handing over the project reins to HMP Northumberland.
A 57-strong team of staff volunteers at the plant have manufactured the aprons in just under three months. They have been supplied to more than 100 health care trusts and care homes across the North East region.
Alan Johnson, Vice President, Manufacturing said: “I’m extremely proud of the way the team at the plant answered the call to produce PPE for our front line workers.
“Producing more than half a million aprons in such a short period of time demonstrates the skill, ingenuity and dedication of our team at the plant.
“As a team we are delighted to hand over the apron manufacture to HMP Northumberland so they can continue the work that’s already been started.”
With both production lines now back up and running at the plant, the team have shared their expertise and donated the equipment to a group of staff and 15 residents at the prison, based in Acklington, Northumberland.
Once up and running the prison team hope to initially produce 40,000 aprons each week.
Nissan began producing aprons in April this year following a request from the Royal College of Nursing and Unite for UK manufacturers to help with the unprecedented demand for PPE.
A team of staff volunteers took just eight days to design and build a process onsite to manufacture the plastic aprons.
Samantha Pariser, Director at HMP Northumberland said: “Both HMP Northumberland and Sodexo Justice are delighted to be taking over this project from Nissan.
“Not only is it great to be giving back to local and regional NHS Trusts and care homes, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for our residents within the establishment to learn new skills which will help them once they have been released, while also decreasing the likelihood of reoffending.”
The project was carried out in parallel to the plant’s activity to help supply visors to the NHS.
As part of that, a team of volunteers have created a parts processing line to sort thousands of individual visor parts and pack them into sets of 125 for shipping direct to the NHS, with more than 370,000 units distributed.