At the peak of the COVID pandemic in April, many organisations were finding it difficult to source PPE.
Organisations that work with disabled people were particularly hit including charities, third sector organisations and care homes.
Established in Cheshire in 2004, Direct Access quickly grew into a leading accessibility consultancy advising architectural firms on improving access for disabled people.
Faced with suspension of work as lockdown bit and being approached by disability organisations for help, they used their connections to source and obtain gloves, masks and aprons for local authorities and care homes that were struggling.
During the first few weeks of the pandemic Direct Access delivered over one million items.
What made them different is each member of the team has a disability. Buyers welcomed the social value in creating employment opportunities for disabled people.
Each member had been out of work for at least two years before joining Direct Access.
The team have also created the Deaf Direct Mask, an innovative face covering that enabled deaf and hard of hearing people to lipread the wearer.
Steve Dering, COO, said: “It was clear that independent organisations and homes without the resources of large groups could not afford the minimum order requirements manufacturers are insisting on.
“We have been able to source large orders and split these large orders into smaller packages that are more suitable for local care homes and disability organisations. At the same time we have been able to create employment opportunities for disabled people.”
The organisation has won several contracts to supply PPE including one to supply 2m face masks to Housing Associations, Care & Repair and Cymorth organisations across Wales over the coming year.
The growth of Direct Access’ PPE service meant a dedicated facility was required to handle the distribution of personal protective equipment. Steven Mifsud, director, went on to add: “Wrexham was the logical choice. We are able to handle larger volumes and ease of access to key routes across Wales, the North West and West Midlands has helped us to offer deliveries during urgent periods.”