Businesses’ generosity alleviating PPE pressure

Date published

14 May 2020

RFDS Victoria would like to acknowledge the generosity of global clothing brand UNIQLO and boutique distillery Husk Distillers for their generous donations of protective product to support the Flying Doctor’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to be a vital and much-talked about part of combating the virus. With such pressure on what has fast become a limited global resource, the issue of where to source PPE – an essential part of keeping our frontline workers safe – has been ongoing.

UNIQLO Australia has risen to the occasion, generously donating 150,000 medical-grade face masks to our frontline workers. The announcement was made on Instagram by renowned golfer and UNIQLO global ambassador Adam Scott after he returned to Australia when the PGA tour was cancelled.

“Watching the news and seeing the spread of the virus, I wondered if there was anything I could do,” says Adam. “I reached out to my partners at UNIQLO and they were only too happy to help.”

The gift is part of a global initiative by UNIQLO’s parent company Fast Retailing, which has donated 10 million masks to high-priority medical facilities worldwide – with the entire Australian allocation donated to RFDS.

Similarly, boutique, New South Wales-based distillery Husk Distillers has also lent their support to the Flying Doctor, donating 500L of hand sanitiser – another crucial component in keeping staff and clients safe.

For co-founder Mandy Perkins, the donation is motivated by a longstanding passion for the work of RFDS.

“To me, RFDS is a lifeline for people living in remote and isolated places. I've spent some time on stations in the Northern Territory knowing that if there was an accident help was many hundreds of kilometres away. So I can only imagine that in the silence of the outback when things go badly wrong there’d be no better sound in the whole world than that of a light aircraft approaching,” she says.

“The RFDS not only saves lives, it gives people in the bush peace of mind to know that when the worst happens, help is not so very far away. It’s just a wonderful organisation.”

Husk Distiller’s donation has been further supported by Peter Shoobridge from Shoobridge Transport in Murwillumbah who donated his time and resources to transport the sanitiser to the RFDS – free of charge.

Donations such as these make a huge difference to the Flying Doctor, with RFDS Victoria Chief Executive Scott Chapman commenting on their role in easing financial pressure on the organisation and alleviating anxiety amongst staff.

“It has been incredibly humbling to see the way businesses of all sizes – each of whom are no doubt encountering the same uncertain economic conditions that we all face –  have been so supportive of the RFDS during this time,” he says.

“Donations in-kind of this nature, reduce our expenditure on PPE at a time when supplies are low and costs – as a result – can often be much higher. They are also a great morale-booster for staff who feel really touched by the community support.”

The sanitiser will be distributed for use at RFDS bases across New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, while the masks will be distributed nationally from RFDS Victoria.