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Pulling together to help frontline workers

Wednesday, 1st April, 2020 5:23pm

The extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic has seen an incredible response from Cork people.

A number of Leeside businesses are helping essential frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic by doing a variety of things from providing cars to donations of vital personal protection equipment (PPE) and sanitisers.

Up to 300 cars have been made available to healthcare workers across the country thanks to an idea from Cork businessman Pat Phelan, co-founder of SISU which is a doctor-led aesthetic company with clinics across Ireland and the UK.

Speaking with the Cork Independent, Pat explained where the idea came from: “I saw a tweet this week from a nurse and it said that because bus timetables had changed, it was going to cost her €100 to get to and from work this week and she didn’t have it.

“Being a techie, my brain went into overdrive and I thought of GoCar so I messaged them on Twitter (saying) ‘Hey can we talk?’. GoCar sent me a message back and one hour later we had a deal done!”

GoCar made 100 cars available exclusively to medical and non-medical healthcare staff as long as they can show that they are working in a hospital and Pat said he would pay for the insurance while GoCar is covering the cost of the car.

However, it didn’t stop there. Another Cork entrepreneur came on board and said he would insure another 100 cars while a Dublin entrepreneur said he would do the same.

As of going to print on Wednesday, nearly 200 out of the 300 cars had been given out. Staff can email info@gocar.ie if the need a car to get to and from work for the next two weeks. Pat added: “The thing that really blew me away was when my SISU business partners - who are doctors - said they were going back into the hospitals. All of our seven doctors are back working in hospitals now. It’s amazing and mind blowing; you think you’re trying and then you see them going back into hospital and you think you’re not trying hard enough.”

Meanhwhile, Therapie Clinic is donating masks, gloves and hand sanitisers to hospitals and nursing homes around the country and in the UK. The aesthetics company, which has a clinic on Opera Lane, say that this is part of their contribution in the fight against the virus.

Clinic Manager at Opera Lane, Sinead Downey said: “All managers around Ireland are trying to get into our clinics over coming days and get donations together for local hospitals and nursing homes.” She said that the company was doing anything it could to help.

Other people doing what they can include two students from Kinsale Community School who with staff produced vital PPE for the medical profession. They made the 3D printed face masks in the school’s Microsoft Dreamspace Hub, which can be used by medical professionals.

Cork native Fiona Parfrey who owns SunDrift, a sustainable backpack store, said that for the month of April, SunDrift will donate 100 per cent of profits to Alone and Age UK.

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