Cheerleading Uniform Manufacturer voluntarily produces masks and scrubs in response to the Coronavirus crisis | Manufacturing Growth Programme

A Basingstoke-based business leader has gone from manufacturing cheerleading outfits to producing PPE to support those on the front line.

Debbie Steel is a Director of three companies including Beresford Medical Supplies (UK) Ltd, her new company, which was incorporated on 19th May during lockdown. The business was established in response to the urgent need for PPE in the primary healthcare sector.

Staff who work under the Pinkfudge brand, Debbie’s other businesses, would normally be manufacturing cheerleading outfits for universities, alongside their other production lines or working as part of the only UK National Network of Professional Drapers, providing B2B remedial services to the UK window furnishings industry.

Having such transferrable skills in designing, patterning, cutting and the stitching of fabrics has enabled the staff to volunteer their expertise to produce and donate scrubs and masks for the Hampshire Health Foundation Trust, charitable trusts and UK Primary and Mental healthcare centres.

When asked about the Covid-19 recovery plans for the business, Debbie confirmed they will be taking advantage of the government support provided by applying for the bounce-back loan scheme while they plan to return to their usual operational activities with their highly skilled staff.

MD Debbie Steel commented, “The hope is that the newly formed Basingstoke business, Beresford Medical Supplies (UK) Ltd, will establish itself with a certified, viable product, culminating in the initial production of 240,000 masks per week. I am absolutely determined to support other UK businesses, so all materials and testing will be UK-sourced. Our USP is British components, British Manufacture, British Quality.

The masks, with latex-free ear loops, will be supplied in fully recyclable packaging and will be manufactured and tested to the latest standards. Class 1 (Medical Devices), TYPE IIR (splash resistant) Surgical Face Mask. EN 14683:2019 tested, MHRA registered and CE marked.

Debbie has been labelled a “human dynamo” by Manufacturing Growth Manager, Steve Sharp of the Manufacturing Growth Programme. Steve went on to say, “Debbie has achieved great progress in a very short space of time, where others would have taken weeks or even months. She has been doggedly thorough in her research and preparation and I have no doubt that she will keep pushing until she succeeds”.

There have been challenges involved with the creation of the new business and product, from perfecting the product, gaining product certification, launching the company in the marketplace and crucially, ensuring a competitive price point.

To assist with the demands of the new business, Debbie is currently engaged with the Manufacturing Growth Programme which is helping support the growth potential of Beresford Medical Supplies (UK) Ltd by providing a grant towards product certification.

Manufacturing Growth Manager, Steve Sharp, supports many SME manufacturing businesses within the Enterprise M3 region. Having previously worked for Hampshire Health Foundation Trust at Basingstoke Hospital (who are the recipients of donated PPE from one of Debbie’s companies) he has been able to provide insight towards the needs of the hospital.

More details on Beresford Medical Supplies (UK) Ltd will be available at www.beresfordmedicalsupplies.co.uk