Crew help deliver tea & PPE to Wirral care homes

Green Watch volunteer fire crew took part in a multi-agency initiative to bring more than a million cups of tea, as well as toiletries and PPE, to Wirral care home residents and staff.

Consumer goods giant Unilever brewed up the plan to donate more than a million teabags to an emergency food operation in Wirral.

In a public and private sector collaboration, the journey of this donation from Unilever to Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust went via a number of businesses and organisations in a huge logistical effort to get the deliveries to 61 care homes across the borough.

Some donations also went to organisations such as Wirral Hive Youth Zone and Wirral Refuge.

Builders merchant Jewson took on the heavy lifting, receiving 24 pallet loads of items from Unilever's base in Port Sunlight then transporting it to Wirral Council's Emergency Hub, where the load was collected by a volunteer fire crew from Green Watch at Birkenhead Fire Station and then taken to care homes along with toiletries and vital PPE.

Nick McCormack, MFRS Station Manager, said: "This is a great example of how we can work together on a voluntary basis to help the most vulnerable and at-risk people in our communities – in this case, elderly care home residents and care home staff.

"I would like to thank local business and our partners who have helped make this possible and to recognise Birkenhead's Green Watch crew for their fantastic can-do attitude in responding to the pandemic."

Karen Howell, Chief Executive at Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, added: "Now more than ever, partnership working is key and throughout Wirral, organisations are coming together to provide much needed care and support to our communities. I'd like to say a heartfelt thank you to the team at Unilever who donated 24 pallets of teabags and three pallets of personal care products to our Trust - we were truly overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity.

"Our team got to work straight away to ensure as many organisations as possible benefitted from the enormous donation, including many care home across Wirral, the Hive Youth Zone, who received goodies to include in their weekly food parcels for local young people, and Wirral Refuge.

"Distributing goods on this scale was only made possible through strong partnership working. A huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. From storing the goods and co-ordinating the drop offs to the actual deliveries themselves, we couldn't have done it without you."

Wirral Council leader, Cllr Pat Hackett, said: "I'm bowled over by the scale of this donation and the operation involved in getting it to the people who need it. The way public, private and third sector organisations have come together to support our most vulnerable residents through these unprecedented times is remarkable and everyone involved should give themselves a massive pat on the back."

A spokesperson for Wirral Refuge added: "We continue to be overwhelmed with the support they have received and are continuing to receive. The women and children have loved and appreciated the donations from Unilever. Donations enable the Refuge staff to continue to support the women and children that they work with in the community."

Cameron Jones, Head of Unilever Port Sunlight, said: "All of the team here at Port Sunlight are so grateful to our local care home staff, charity workers and volunteers, as well as the NHS, who are working so hard to support many vulnerable people and families when it is needed more than ever.

"As Unilever's historic home, it has been especially important to us that we support the Port Sunlight and wider Wirral community - where we all live and work - and help as many people as we can. We're pleased to have had the opportunity to work closely with such a diverse range of partners to donate cuppas to our local care homes and charities. Only by working together have we been able to reach as many people as we have and we're very proud to be part of this Wirral community and network."