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It doesn’t feel all that long ago that many of us were with Family and Friends, raising a glass, hugging, dancing to Auld Lang Syne (in close proximity to one another!) to toast the start of the New Year. All of us with hopes and dreams of what 2020 would bring us.
Fast forward a few months, and well, none of us could have even predicted this. It seems that almost overnight life as we know it ground to a halt. We spend our days using terms we have never used before, Furloughed, Social Distancing, Daily Exercise (Ok, some of you probably did that before all of this), COVID19, Coronavirus, Daily Press Conference to name but a few. We catch up with our Friends and Family on video calls, hoping that someone doesn’t have a bad connection and leaving the house to go shopping turns into a bit of a military operation with Flash Spray to hand to wipe everything down before putting it away.
We’ve been told to stay at home and to only leave the house for our Daily Exercise, to Shop for Essentials or Medical Needs. Staying at home is vital right now, we must follow the rules, no matter how difficult we are finding it, as doing this is helping to Save Lives and is stopping the NHS from becoming overrun with cases.
But, despite all of this, the UK has come together (at a social distance of course) in a way that really is very special. Communities have united to support the most vulnerable, record numbers of people have volunteered their time to help the NHS and other services, including members of our team and businesses are refocusing their efforts to ensure our nation has what it needs to get through this.
We have read so many wonderful things that our trade, the Automotive Industry, have been doing to ensure support to those that most need it and we just wanted to write this to show our appreciation for them.
Following the calls from the government for Ventilators to be produced, 29 product manufacturers in the UK have grouped together as part of the Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium and a third of these companies are Automotive Firms, including Ford, McLaren, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and many more. But they haven’t just been producing Ventilators, McLaren have also created a respirator prototype to protect frontline NHS Staff and bespoke trolleys especially for these ventilators – which they have been crash-testing to ensure they are sturdy enough.
The UK’s biggest Car producer Jaguar Land Rover has switched their focus from vehicles to Protective Visors joined by Ford, who have also donated 13,500 pairs of gloves, 150 disposable suits and safety glasses to local health authorities. Aston Martin have also been assisting with these efforts and have been putting their factory to excellent use in developing protective visors, respiratory protection devices and gowns for intensive care staff.
Bentley and Rolls Royce have donated their fleet of Vehicles and Drivers to charities so they can deliver food, medical supplies and other essentials to the most vulnerable. Jaguar Land Rover have done the same, distributing 27 brand new Defenders to the Red Cross in the UK as well as a further 30 vehicles to support emergency response organisations and Ford has supplied around 200 vehicles to emergency services, local authorities, volunteer groups and other critical services.
In Norfolk, our home county, Lotus has supplied thousands of items of PPE to our local hospital but the buck doesn’t just stop with the large manufacturers. We have seen so many wonderful stories on our social media feeds of smaller dealer groups doing what they can to support the efforts nationally.
Pendragon have donated 20,000 disposable seat covers to local health trusts as well as donating 20% of their CEO’s salary to the NHS. Joining them in providing these seat covers are Arnold Clark, LSH Auto and Kwik Fit to name but a few. These seat covers are used by Frontline District Nurses and Community Teams to help reduce the risk of infection.
Marshall Motor Group have teams working around the clock to service and repair Key Worker Vehicles, including those all-important supermarket delivery vans and police vehicles as well as donating much needed Seat Covers to AGE UK. They’ve also been keeping their own team of Key Worker’s spirits high by delivering Easter eggs to them.
Sytner have been working hard to keep things moving, their Mercedes-Benz Branch in Newcastle have been busy delivering grocery supplies to their local food bank, not forgetting the learning and development coach for Audi and JLR who has been supporting Acute Ambulance by moving vehicles and equipment and ensuring everything is in the right place at the right time freeing up those front line Key Workers who would usually be performing these tasks. They’ve been delivering Easter Eggs and also donated disposable seat covers, gloves and much more PPE to those health authorities across the UK that have a great need for it.
Gravell Kia in Narbeth have transformed their showroom into a packing hub for food hampers, these food hampers are being sent to those on the Frontline in the NHS. The Chorley Group have lent electric MGs in a bid to keep health staff on the move and Jim Reid Vehicle Sales have done the same thing.
Those are only a few of the Dealerships, Garages, Motor Trade Businesses that have been donating their time and efforts to help the Key Workers across the UK. To everyone that is helping we are so grateful to all you are doing & thank you for working so hard to keep our new normal going.
Tonight is the #ClapForOurCarers – where we and the rest of the nation open their windows, their doors, stands on their balconies and clap, bang saucepans, sing and make noise to let our NHS and our Key Workers that we appreciate them, the atmosphere is incredible and somewhat emotional. We will also be clapping for those key workers within the Motor Trade. Please join in with us at 8pm.