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Furloughed Laura Ashley Employees Volunteer To Make NHS Scrubs

Laura Ashley sign

Laura Ashley Holdings plc and the Joint Administrators from PwC are pleased to announce an agreement with Alexandra Workwear to manufacture 3,000 sets of medical scrubs a week alongside other essential products for the National Health Service. 

The activity will take place at the Group’s Texplan Manufacturing division based in Newtown, Wales, thanks to 41 staff members volunteering to return to work and drive the activity. Social distancing guidelines will be observed at all times during production.

Linda Andrew, a Laura Ashley supervisor, was on furlough when her manager called to ask if she might consider coming back to work. 

“My boss explained they’d hatched a plan to sew scrubs and cubicle curtains for the NHS so of course I said yes,” said Linda who joined Laura Ashley’s Texplan team the same month it was officially opened by Diana, Princess of Wales back in 1987. 

“I don’t have the skills to physically help out in a hospital, but this is something I can do. We’ve experience of making beautiful handmade curtains for Laura Ashley, but it has been a while since we made garments here in Wales.  But we’re an adaptable bunch so I’m confident we’ll be able to turn our hand to sewing scrubs.  There are machinists volunteering up and down the country to make scrubs, masks, bonnets and bags to help protect those in the NHS – it’s really helping with supply so I’m keen to get back to work to help make a difference too,” Linda added. 

Katharine Poulter, Laura Ashley’s CEO, appointed in February and working towards a potential sale of the business to save UK manufacturing and retail jobs, said: 

“I’ve been in talks with the Welsh Government sharing with them my radical turnaround plans for a new restructured and profitable Laura Ashley Group. I am discussing with them how we can work together to ‘Bring Laura Back’, not only recreating those original designs in a modern way but also producing them back in Wales where our story first began.  I am passionate about growing British manufacturing and bringing those skills and jobs back to our heartland in Wales for future generations of makers and Laura Ashley customers.   

“During my conversations with the Welsh Government, the urgent need for more NHS clothing and outerwear came to light and our teams jumped at the opportunity to lend their skilled hands. It fills me with enormous pride that, against a backdrop of such personal uncertainty, so many are willing to return to help our incredible NHS frontline workers who are caring for so many.”

Rob Lewis, joint administrator and PwC partner, said:

“It’s testament to the resilience and the will of the staff members in these difficult times that they are putting others first and lead this vital work. We are very grateful to them for volunteering and for their future efforts. I’m delighted that our conversations with the Welsh Assembly have led to the signing of a contract with Alexandra Workwear, who are a supplier to the NHS in Wales. We’ll be providing garments, such as scrubs, on a not-for-profit basis for frontline NHS workers.”

Note: Laura Ashley Holdings plc (“Laura Ashley” or “the Company”, its key trading subsidiary Laura Ashley Limited, Premier Home Logistics Limited, Laura Ashley Investments Limited, and Texplan Manufacturing Limited (collectively “the Group”).

Source : PwC

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22 April 2020

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