A leading food wholesaler has added PPE to its delivery menu after clinching a share of a Welsh Government contract worth £3 million to supply care homes with protective gear and cleaning materials.
Harlech Foodservice is now an accredited supplier of the masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment that care homes are using in their thousands in the fight to keep Covid-19 at bay.
They stepped into the breach after many Welsh care homes had difficulty sourcing supplies of PPE in the first wave of the pandemic and Harlech, who have bases in Criccieth, in Gwynedd, and Chester, are now on the National Procurement Service for Wales list and can guarantee delivery.
Harlech Commercial Director Mark Lawton said: “This does represent a diversification for us but it makes very good sense because we already supply lots of care homes and care organisations with a range of food.
“We have added PPE and a range of cleaning materials to the menu of products we provide and it makes good sense for a care home to deal with one supplier rather than several.
“We can guarantee security of supply which is absolutely vital, especially when care home staff are guarding their vulnerable residents’ lives against Covid.
‘It’s also important that they know their supplier’s products adhere to all the required safety and quality standards and has the correct certification as a recognised supplier.”
Among the increasing number of care organisations which Harlech supplies is the Pendine Park which employs over 800 staff at homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon.
It is headed by Mario Kreft MBE, who is also chairman of Care Forum Wales which represents over 500 private care organisations across Wales.
Pendine Park Safety Officer Kevin Jones said: “We’re delighted with the service we get from Harlech because they provide us with what we need when we need it.
“This is literally a matter of life and death for us, not just for our clients but also for the carers and for the wider community because most of our staff are on the care side.
“We see ourselves as a part of that community because it’s not just about our employees but also about their families and friends and the wider public and we have a duty to keep them all safe.
“We have been lucky here at Pendine because Mario Kreft has taken all steps to procure PPE at his own expense and we can go through thousands of pieces of kit a week.
“It’s an ongoing battle that we’re engaged in and it’s vital that we have the right kit at the right quality to do our jobs and keep everyone safe.”
Harlech Foodservices has been in business since 1972 and now has bases at Criccieth, Gwynedd, and Chester and between the two locations, the company employs around 200 staff and runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver more than 10,000 product lines.
They are accredited by TUCO – The University Caterers Organisation – a framework which qualifies businesses to provide catering services for the public sector as well as by NPS.
Harlech’s customers include cafés, restaurants and pubs as well as public sector organisations and an increasing number of care organisations across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.
They recently clinched a contract to supply Denbighshire schools with a million meals a year to add to their existing contracts with Gwynedd and Conwy councils and they also supply leading North West and Midlands barbecue restaurant chain Hickory’s.
Mark Lawton added: “We are a North Wales company and very much part of the local community and we also offer a bilingual service which is important in an area like this so that orders can be taken in Welsh.
“Winning a contract like this enables us to provide vital employment at a time when the pandemic is having a drastic effect and it helps to ensure that some of the most vulnerable in society and their dedicated carers are being well looked after.”
For more on Harlech Foodservice go to https://www.harlech.co.uk/