PROSPER MAGAZINE: SPECIAL DIGITAL EDITION
BLACK COUNTRY HEROES
BLACK COUNTRY BUSINESS HEROES
LISA COWLEY CEO | BEACON CENTRE
Lisa Cowley, CEO of the Beacon Centre near Sedgley, recently revealed that she had been sleeping on a camp bed at the centre in order to be on hand to help her care team and how, at the end of a 21-hour shift, she held the hand of a dying patient as she took her last breath.
"From the minute this crisis hit, I knew there was no way I was going to leave my staff or anyone we support to face this alone," Lisa said.
The Beacon Centre has been part of the community in the West Midlands for more than 145 years, but for the first time, they are at real risk as charities, and those delivering social care, are being hit hard by COVID-19.
Closing services and retail shops have meant a loss of around £25,000 per week, so Beacon has launched an appeal to bring in much-needed funds. You can give £5 by texting 70085 (cost is £5 plus one standard rate message).
IPU’S CLEARTANK FUEL CLEANING TEAM
Industrial Power Units, based in West Bromwich, have supported the NHS for many years, and in these unprecedented times, the company is no different.
The company's ClearTank Team have spent recent weeks supporting a critical COVID-19 treatment centre in the heart of London, cleaning fuel used for the standby generators. Just hours after the phone call, the team had deployed the company's brand new ClearTank fuel cleaning rig to site.
Thanks to the clever engineering of the rig, no disruption was caused to key workers, despite being based at the A&E entrance on the hospital car park and by the time the team left the site, the tanks feeding the critical back-up generators were left with clean fuel.
With an unprecedented amount of us staying at home and putting more pressure on the grid, it is vital that back-up power infrastructure is maintained - including stored fuel.
Without the guarantee of a hotel room, or even an evening meal, and without hesitation, the team gave up their sunny days and bank holidays with their own families to help. They continue to travel the length and breadth of the country, ensuring critical sites have clean fuel and reliable back-up power.
Colleagues from across A.F. Blakemore, one of the largest family-owned businesses in the UK, entailing retail, wholesale distribution, food service, logistics, specialist food and shopfitting divisions, joined forces to donate £25,918 to local communities during the coronavirus crisis.
Staff from the company's Blakemore Foodservice Division in Darlaston, and Blakemore Retail SPAR stores, have awarded 304 in-kind donations worth £15,350 and a further £10,568 in monetary support to local good causes via A.F. Blakemore's charitable trust, the Blakemore Foundation.
Staff at the company's SPAR retail division have also awarded goods to care homes, food banks, including the Black Country Food Bank, and volunteer groups, offering essential care packages for the isolated, elderly, and most vulnerable.
BLACK COUNTRY LIVING MUSEUM SEAMSTRESS TO THE RESCUE
Whilst many museum staff are at home and the popular tourist attraction remains closed, it hasn't stopped seamstress, Hayley, normally used to sewing historical costumes, from working hard and making up dozens of scrubs for frontline key workers in the area.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION'S STADIUM USED FOR TEMPORARY MATERNITY CLINICS
West Bromwich Albion Football Club has opened its suites in its East Stand for antenatal and postnatal care, allowing expectant mothers to avoid hospital visits.
The appointment-only facility is for women who are 24 weeks onwards with their pregnancy and is being staffed by 10 midwives and three support workers.
Albion chief executive Mark Jenkins said, "We are more than happy to open the doors to The Hawthorns to enable this vital service to be safely conducted.
"It is another example of how the club can help within our community during this pandemic, something we are determined to continue to do.
"And we like to think you are never too young to join the Albion family."
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Chatting to a contact in the ICU department at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, Kevin Rogers, CEO of Paycare, asked what he could do to help?
"The usual PPE conversation cropped up," said Kevin, "But when I asked again, the answer came – lever arch files.
"The ones the hospital were using were falling apart and a nightmare to use whilst wearing full PPE," said Kevin, "When I asked if there was anything else they needed, the response was - calculators, to help staff work out dosages.
"So, we promptly supplied 50 of each to them.
"They make a real difference to the teams working at the sharp end of this health crisis."
Paycare, the Wolverhampton based, not for profit Wolverhampton health care cash plan provider, helps many charities each year. From charitable donations to sponsorship, initiatives and community projects, the company dedicates every single penny left over to good causes, which supports its community, to date they have donated more than £2 million.
"On this occasion though, it's the little things that businesses can help with that can make a real practical difference," said Kevin.
NATIONAL EXPRESS WEST MIDLANDS GOING THE EXTRA MILE
National Express West Midlands has been going the extra mile - literally - to provide an essential lifeline to frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
As well as maintaining the bus network, so Black Country key workers can get to where they need to be, the bus operator has put on morning shuttle buses from New Cross Hospital to Cannock Chase Hospital.
In addition, the company's accessible transport division (NEAT), has worked closely with Transport for West Midlands to provide NHS park and ride shuttles to Russells Hall, Dudley Hospital, Walsall Manor and Wolverhampton New Cross from nearby railway station car parks.
And even over and above this, the company's wonderful people have been volunteering their own time to help in their local communities.
One shining example is Wolverhampton bus driver Sarbjit, who has won praise on social media after being spotted at Guru Nanak Gurdwara on Sedgley Street preparing and providing meals for vulnerable people and hospitals.
PRAISE FOR STAFF WHO ARE KEEPING NARROW AISLE OPEN FOR BUSINESS
John Maguire, managing director of Tipton-based Narrow Aisle Ltd – manufacturer of the Flexi range of articulated forklift truck-based materials handling solutions, has praised the dedication and commitment of the company's employees who have continued working throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
He said, "Manufacturing is a critical part of the economy and while there is no restriction on manufacturing it would be quite understandable if staff were anxious about continuing to work.
"During this time, we have fulfilled a number of important orders – including to a major supplier of healthcare PPE products to the NHS, and many food and grocery retail customers."
Meanwhile Narrow Aisle provides a fleet of 350 rental Flexi units to customers across the logistics, retail and food sectors. All the customers have a need for ongoing service engineering, maintenance and testing of their Flexi which the company's mobile engineering staff have continued to provide across the UK.
M6 TOLL SUPPORT HELPS PATIENTS KEEP IN TOUCH WITH LOVED ONES
Midland Expressway Ltd (operators of the M6toll) have shown their support to University Hospitals Birmingham Charity by providing a donation of £1,500 through their Drive for Charity in the Community scheme.
The donation will be used to buy tablets that will allow older patients to communicate with their families whilst in hospital.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, patients across University Hospitals Birmingham have been unable to receive visits from their loved ones. UHB Charity has asked for support to fund iPads and other tablets that will allow patients to see their families through video calls, helping them to keep in contact whilst in hospital.