Delivering PPE donations and mail during lockdown

Posted on: 13 August 2020 by Dave Hobson in August posts

Mail room staff member with thumbs up
Mail and transport services team member with a shipment of PPE donations

Dave Hobson manages the Mail and Transport services at the University. He and his team played a vital role in the Emergency Response Campaign ensuring that thousands of PPE donations received from around the globe were quickly transported to local front line workers. Here he tells us about what daily life at work entailed for him at the height of lockdown.

"When the lockdown was implemented in March, we began a strange period where the University Mail Room became one of the few 'go to places' which still functioned. Although working on the campus began to feel like we’d missed the lifeboat, we were kept busy with campus deliveries and couriers, re-directed to ourselves as we became one of the few areas still open.

Our involvement with the organisation of donated PPE went really well. The Alumni team reached out worldwide to former members and contacts of the University, to ask for any help they could provide. The whole process was a joint effort with ourselves receiving and storing the equipment, before arranging delivery to the Merseyside Resilience Forum (MRF), based at Wirral Tennis Centre in Bidston. There were over 130,000 masks donated in total, similar numbers of gloves, as well as many other items of consumables, and we ensured these were supplied through the MRF to the local NHS and front line workers.

Loading boxes into mail van

Dave and colleague loading PPE donations into University mail vans to deliver to Merseyside Resilience Forum

A lot of the shipments required clearance through UK customs, as well as utilising freight services for travel from UK airports to the University. Our Finance team was a great help in arranging exemption certificates, to ensure there was no duty attached to the deliveries.

PPE Donation box

PPE donation package from China

As well as continuing to receive all the campus mail and couriers until buildings re-open, we have supported various departments with their projects and research by ensuring essential supplies and equipment were received and forwarded over to their buildings. We have also utilised our transport services to help carry equipment and goods to various areas around campus. 

Boxes on trollies

Mail and transport team member delivering equipment on campus

We have worked particularly closely with our Computer Services Department (CSD), helping to send out requested computers, laptops and other items to staff and students working from home. This also involves a collection service to ensure the safe return of equipment.

As the campus slowly begins to re-populate, we are able to deliver the large amount of mail and couriers we have stored here, at the mail room. This will ensure all items are ready and available to departments as they return to work.

The team and I feel really proud to have been involved in the process of ensuring delivery of University PPE donations, to aid the NHS and front line staff in their efforts to care for patients and tackle the virus.

There were so many donations made from all over the world and it was heart-warming and humbling to witness the kindness shown by so many.”

Find out more about the Emergency Response Campaign