As quarry professionals and IQ members, we all have a role to play in making a positive contribution to our wider communities. At the moment the country is asking all of us to do our bit and here in the North of England, we were fortunate to be able to respond to an urgent call.
Turning on the TV, radio or going online and one thing of which most of us will be acutely aware is the lack of availability of essential facemasks and other vital PPE. The demands of the Covid-19 crisis are truly unprecedented.
I saw a call put out on Facebook from Dehenna Davison, our local Member of Parliament. She was pleading for businesses with spare supplies of personal protective equipment, specifically FFP3 respirator masks, to think about handing them over for use by local medical professionals. Several doctors surgeries across County Durham were in desperate need.
At Heights Quarry we use these high-performance FFP3-rated respirator masks in and around our limestone quarry to keep our team safe from occasional dust during extraction and production.
After checking our stores we found 40 spare masks, so it was a natural step to offer these to two local doctor’s surgeries. It was more important that the NHS had them as they are on the frontline of this as key workers. We are all so grateful for the service they are providing at this challenging time and we are so pleased that we could help out.
Given the government restrictions, I made sure it was OK to travel, then dropped off the respirator masks at two surgeries in Bishop Auckland. Word spread and I was interviewed on BBC Radio Tees breakfast show. The breakfast programme also spoke to the practice manager at one of the surgeries in Bishop Auckland, which received the donation. Sarah Westgarth said that the team were very grateful and that the masks had made a real difference to the team. What was, in effect, a quite small contribution, really did make a big difference to the lives of frontline NHS workers.
My message to others is to help where you can – whether through donations, by volunteering or by just doing your bit to alleviate pressure on the NHS.