How Wolseley supported the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic
Wolseley provide essential break-fix, infrastructure, and maintenance in hospitals, nursing homes, supermarkets, schools, homes and utilities, which were all designated as critical to the operational stability of the UK during the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, our priority was to continue to operate our branch and distribution network, and support services, in a way that ensures customer and colleague safety first and foremost, while continuing to keep the UK operating.
Building NHS capacity and supporting the NHS COVID-19 response
We are incredibly proud of how colleagues across Wolseley responded to the crisis and pulled together to help keep the UK operating. Our nationwide team was able to provide timely supplies and essential services to every single one of the Nightingale projects across the UK, helping the NHS to increase its capacity.
Some examples of how we contributed to the national effort to expand emergency NHS capacity are:
- West Bromwich acting quickly to supply urgent products with a 24-hour turnaround to the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital at Birmingham's NEC, where up to 4,000 beds were made available
- Supplying products for the NHS Nightingale Hospital in ExCeL London, providing services which were crucial in helping the hospital to get up and running, ready for its first patients
- Govan and Glasgow and the William Wilson team in Cumbernauld were put to the test on their knowledge of plumbing, heating, pumps, drainage, MDPE and everything in between as they facilitated the necessary items for the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow
- We supported the supply of critical equipment for the Harrogate Nightingale site by collecting and delivering same day, offering a 24/7 call out service, driving across the North to collect goods and managing to complete every request on time
- Cambridge pulled out all the stops to support the refurbishment of an old disused ward at the Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford so that it could be re-opened for COVID-19 patients.
- Our Sighthill team in Edinburgh were proud to help JLcom Group when their engineers provided a Zip Water boiler for a new staff rest area for Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, converting an area of the hospital into a space that would give staff somewhere to take some well-earned rest
- Branch Manager Matthew Wicks at Edinburgh safely supplied customer Bouygues E&S FM UK Ltd with essential materials for the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh. The hospital was used by NHS Scotland as part of the response to the COVID-19 situation
- Branch Manager Allan MacDonald at Inverness was involved in the safe supply of toilet units that were used in the COVID-19 response at NHS Raigmore Hospital in Inverness
- Glasgow Kingston Bridge supplied regular customer ArcTech with sanitaryware and materials for Stobhill Hospital's refurbishment. Following social distancing guidelines, Kingston Bridge opened at scheduled times to allow the safe collection of taps, seats, and sensors
- Branch Manager Ian Beveridge at Cumbernauld supported John Crawford & Co with the supply of material for NHS Tayside Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee
- William Wilson’s Orkney Branch Manager Alasdair Rendall made a personal donation of 80 doughnuts to his local NHS Hospital, Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall. Alasdair made his donation in recognition of the vitally important work all NHS workers were doing during the pandemic. Alasdair had a very good reason to be grateful to the NHS. In January 2021, he became gravely ill with sepsis. Alasdair said: “Our NHS do a tremendous job for us, whether it be in normal times or in times of crisis like this. I was delighted to make a small contribution to their welfare.”
Keeping food on tables
Refrigeration systems run day and night to keep food cool at temperatures as low as -20 degrees for frozen food, and their continuous operation is vital to keep food on everyone’s tables. Our colleagues provided 24/7 cover for breakdowns on refrigeration systems in supermarkets and our Cooling business also provided a 24/7 out-of-hours call out service for customers requiring materials for breakdowns in this market sector.
Our Cooling division supported all the major national food retailers across the UK who were providing supplies and materials at this critical time.
And in Scotland, Scott Hobson and the team in Perth, who serve large farming communities in Perthshire and beyond, did their bit to make sure these agricultural businesses continued to produce foodstuffs for the nation during the crisis. Scott facilitated a replacement boiler to be delivered to a farm in Fife which was without heating, and also supported customer Moray Combe with the delivery of two oil boilers for farm properties that had experienced breakdowns.
We’re proud to have helped our customers as they kept essential services going across the UK. In addition to donating P3 face masks to help the hard-working NHS estates staff across London, branches across the country also made donations. Macclesfield was just one example, donating a shower tap to the local hospital so that staff looking after Covid-19 patients had more access to washing facilities before they went home.
William Wilson Branch Manager, Stevie Bruce, at Thurso had no hesitation in supporting customer Pentland Housing Association when they made an appeal for any PPE William Wilson could spare for the NHS. Thurso donated 250 pairs of latex gloves, which went to the local hospital, GP surgeries, ambulance stations and volunteer services.
Branch Manager Matthew Wicks in Edinburgh also responded to an appeal from the Whinpark Medical Centre in Edinburgh for PPE equipment, donating rolls of blue cleaning tissue, soap, and gloves.
Supporting the community
While on furlough, a number of colleagues used the time to proactively support their local communities.
Mark Holland from Llandudno is just one example. He supported mothers and children who had been abused and were living in safe houses by donating boxes of gifts and toys sourced through his family, his network of friends and fellow members of a fitness group.
Our teams were also busy helping key workers on the frontline. Just one example is how our team helped Natalie, a nurse, when her heating and hot water broke down. An engineer told her seven to ten days – the team at Strathclyde got her the parts straight away, helping her focus on the important things, saving lives.
William Wilson Edinburgh Driver, James McDonald, volunteered for the Edinburgh Furniture Initiative, which is part of the Four Square Homelessness Charity, a major provider of services for homeless and other vulnerable people in Edinburgh for 40 years.
James and his partner Laura jointly delivered food packs to hostels in the Edinburgh area. James did the driving and Laura did the delivering! James said: “I’m delighted to be helping Laura and Four Square out with the driving aspect of this project. Driving is what I do for a living, so I’m happy to be putting those skills to use in aid of such a worthwhile charity.”
John “Jock” Macsween works for William Wilson in Portree on the Isle of Skye. Jock decided to put his spare time to good use by volunteering with Skye Community Response, a voluntary organisation which receives calls and emails from members of the public and connects with a large volunteer team to provide solutions.
Graham Wilson usually works as a sales assistant in our Skye branch. Graham used his time away from work to volunteer at Budhmor House Care Home in Portree, a purpose-built residential home for older people located in a quiet area of Portree. Graham offered assistance within the care home and in the grounds.
Thank you to all of our Wolseley heroes.