What Feeding our Frontline Means to me
Written by Belu’s Head of Operations, Nolan Wright.
As we now enter our 7th week of lockdown in the UK as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am steadily growing accustomed to the impact this has had on me personally, and also on our business and industry.
Like many other families, we have got used to the home-schooling aspect of the lockdown being parents to two primary aged boys and I must say that I now have the utmost respect for the teaching profession. My wife is a key worker, a midwife in London, which has given me an inside view of what is going on in healthcare over this period, be it PPE challenges or frontline workers contracting COVID-19. This has created added emotions to deal with over this time, while also helping me understand and empathise with the job that the people in our health services do, especially in times of crisis when working on the frontline. COVID-19 is affecting everybody, including childbearing women, which must be a massively scary prospect for any new parent, let alone the daunting task of bringing a new baby in the world.
At Belu, I have been fortunate enough to be facilitating our effort (along with many others within the hospitality industry) in supporting the NHS ‘Feed our Frontline’ charity which is providing meals and drinks to our frontline NHS staff on a daily basis. At the time of writing this article, we have been fortunate enough to provide in week one of an expected initial six-week project, just over 35,000 bottles of our Belu 100% recycled PET Mineral Water, which has gone to staff at five different NHS trusts (Kings College Hospital, London Ambulance Service, Barts Health NHS Trust – Newham University Hospital, the Royal Marsden Hospitals and Croydon University Hospital). We are ready and hoping to increase this support as needed in the coming weeks.
For those who don’t know, Belu’s main customers are predominantly in the HORECA (hotel, restaurant, catering) market and with this channel being all but closed as a result of the lockdown measures in place, the impact has also hit our supply chain partners who would ordinarily have been moving a lot of product around at this time of year, especially given the good weather we have been seeing recently. Being part of the NHS Feed our Frontline initiative has the added benefit of not only helping the intended recipients but also, crucially, helping our supply chain partners by allowing them to move some much-needed product over this challenging time.
Given my personal link, I’m proud that we have been able to supply Belu to frontline NHS workers and also to do this knowing that the product supplied is in 100% recycled plastic which Belu launched across our whole range in late 2019. This was a project particularly close to my heart given my direct input in delivering this and the improved environmental credentials this delivered to the Belu business and wider circular economy in the UK.
Hopefully, with this little bit of support that we are providing our key frontline NHS workers, they will have one less thing to worry about on a daily basis while at work helping to keep all of us safe.