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In an unprecedented call to arms, the COVID-19 Manufacturing Cluster for Lancashire and South Cumbria has been launched today.

Its aim is to act as a single point to pass on the requirements of the NHS to manufacturers in the area – and to make it easier for companies and NHS organisations to engage with each other.

Manufacturers who believe they have the capability to support local NHS requirements or can reconfigure to manufacture for the NHS are being urged to sign up to the initiative.

Annette Weekes of PDS CNC Engineering in Nelson has founded the group with a number of partners, including the University of Lancaster, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and CUBE Thinking.

She said: “We have established a group of local manufacturers with the skills and capacity to support the urgent requirements of our healthcare industry at this crucial time.

“In Lancashire we have some truly awesome capability, there really is nothing we can’t produce so let’s pull together now and support our local NHS services.

“I ask any local manufacturers who want to help to come forward now and work with us so we can be as responsive as possible to NHS demand.”

Sherry Kothari, director of the University of Lancaster’s Health Innovation Campus, is working closely with the NHS and is playing a key role in the emerging manufacturing cluster.

She said: “At a time of national crisis, it is gratifying to see the offers of help that are flooding in from every corner.

“It is vital to capture and coordinate these so that we can optimise help for our local NHS teams as well those working on the front line across other agencies.

“The more we can do with local SMEs, the more agile and responsive we can be in providing sustainable support for the region.”

If you are a local manufacturer and believe you have the capability to support your local NHS requirements, or if you can reconfigure to manufacture for the NHS; please register your interest at



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