A Welsh furniture and graphics group is launching a new range of workplace shielding products to support the country’s safe return to work, following support from Lloyds Bank.
Ministry of Furniture, based in Neath, specialises in creating workspaces for public sector schools, local authorities and offices. It offers interior design services, as well as manufacturing its own lines of furniture and re-selling major brands. Its sister company, Ministry Graphics, provides interior and exterior signage, as well as interior and vehicle graphics.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the businesses have been exploring how they can use their existing design and manufacturing capabilities to provide products that will support efforts against COVID-19.
Cash flow support through a six-figure invoice finance facility from Lloyds Bank has enabled Ministry of Furniture and Ministry Graphics to develop and launch a new ‘Protekt’ range of perspex sheet protection screens for shops and workplaces.
The line includes semi-permanent screens that can be fixed to tables or desks to create barriers between workstations, free-standing protection screens and clip-on screens that can be added to existing desk partitions, all designed to help create safer environments for those re-entering workplaces following the COVID-19 lockdown.
During the COVID-19 crisis the companies have also developed free face shields for frontline workers. They have also worked with contractor Andrew Scott, Neath Port Talbot Council and the Swansea Bay University Health Board to supply and fit polycarbonate screens and make signage for the new temporary field hospital at the Llandarcy Academy of Sport.
Graham Hirst, managing director at Ministry of Furniture, said: “Protection will be a major consideration when people start returning to the workplace, and our new range aims to provide a simple solution to help keep workers and members of the public safe.
“As a business, we’re highly socially motivated, and throughout the crisis have always kept the bigger picture in mind.
“Right from the start, we have been looking at how we can use the skills and resources we have to produce things that are of use in these difficult times.
“Our graphics team was already working with acrylic, and it’s been the natural step to apply this capability to face shields, hospital screens and now these solutions.
“The support from the team at Lloyds Bank meant we could be in a position to invest in this new product line. We now have our eyes firmly set on the future.”
Nathan Bartlett, associate director, Lloyds Bank, said: “The Ministry of Furniture and Ministry Graphics teams have been quick to spot where their products and services can be of real value, both for their customers and community alike.
“When the businesses were offered the chance to supply the Llandarcy field hospital, we were incredibly proud to be able to offer our support to help the team get the job done.
“Whether it’s to support growth opportunities, or to help manage disruption caused by current conditions, we’ll continue to be by the side of firms like Ministry of Furniture and Ministry Graphics in the weeks and months to come.”
Ministry of Furniture emerged from the furniture division of Remploy – formerly the UK’s largest employer of people with disabilities – in 2014.