ABC businesses join fight against coronavirus

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Employee at Ferguson’s Irish Linen making face masks in the company’s Banbridge factory.
Employee at Ferguson’s Irish Linen making face masks in the company’s Banbridge factory.

Innovative companies throughout the borough of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon have been working hard to help fight the coronavirus pandemic by switching production, adopting new technology and providing services to boost wellbeing.

To help aid the transition from their normal production, businesses have been able to avail of help from the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Covid-19 Business Support team. So far over 400 companies have received assistance from this dedicated team through advice, support, guidance and signposting.

Face masks, scrubs and hand sanitiser are currently the most sought-after products and local businesses have been stepping in to fill the void. Fergusons Irish Linen from Banbridge has been making face masks and Blenheim Fabrics from Portadown has donated material to help make medical scrubs.

Many others have been helping in the fight against the virus by switching production where possible to produce products needed by health workers, while others have been helping people stay at home, such as the Traditional Pilates Centre in Banbridge, which is live streaming pilates classes.

Meanwhile, social enterprise Healthy Kidz, which works with schools to encourage more activity, has created an app to keep children active and maintain wellbeing while staying at home through the Healthy Kidz Global Challenge. Another local social enterprise, Studyseed has moved its educational tutorials online to give children the support they need to continue their studies during the pandemic. Added to this, Southern Regional College is now delivering as many of its full time and higher education courses online as well as working remotely to support applications for next years’ enrolment.

The borough’s food and drink producers – including Irwin’s Bakery and Moy Park – are also rising to the challenge and working tirelessly to keep cupboards full and shelves stocked, ensuring food remains on tables across the region. World-renowned contract development and manufacturing organisation, Almac Group, is currently providing urgent support for over ten separate crucial research projects into COVID-19 treatment options for a variety of global Biopharmaceutical companies. Health analytics firm ‘Healthcare Analytics’ is using digital and sensor technologies to optimise the deployment of healthcare assets in hospitals and the community.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell said the response is typical of the can-do spirit of the business community in the borough.

She said: “Not only are we lucky enough to have vibrant and innovative businesses in our borough, they are also willing to help fight one of the biggest threats the world has ever faced. I am proud that so many of our companies and people have stepped up when they are needed most and know that their efforts are playing a big part in Northern Ireland’s fight against the virus.

“On behalf of everyone in the borough, we thank them for their selfless acts, now and in the future.”

Any business needing support should visit:

www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/business-support/