Economy Minister Diane Dodds and Health Minister Robin Swann visited Denroy in Bangor to welcome the creation of 130 jobs and a £19.5millon PPE contract with Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (HSCNI).
The major new contract will see Denroy manufacture and supply FFP3 masks to HSCNI from its new manufacturing facility in Bangor, Co Down. To support Denroy to deliver the contract, Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company £1.5m of support towards 130 jobs.
Making the joint announcement, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “Over the last 50 years, the Denroy Group has become synonymous with innovation through its cutting edge product development and manufacturing of specialist aerospace components and award winning hair products.
“Due to Covid-19, there has been an unprecedented global demand for PPE. Very early on in the pandemic Denroy took decisive action and repurposed to manufacture PPE. The positive impact of this decision is clearly demonstrated by today’s announcement of new jobs and a contract that will provide PPE to our healthcare workers.
“The company has moved quickly and has already recruited all 130 jobs and hopes to grow further. These new roles will contribute £3.7million in additional annual salaries to the local economy. Not only is this great news for the Ards and North Down Borough Council area, but also for the wider Northern Ireland economy.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “At the outset, the Covid-19 pandemic caused us to think very differently about how to tackle many issues. We had to urgently consider how best to meet the challenge of protecting our health and social care staff while safely treating Covid-19 patients.
“The demand for PPE in the first surge of the pandemic placed tremendous strain on the health service in Northern Ireland. My procurement officials put a call out to local manufacturing, with Invest NI, to support the supply of critical PPE items. I am delighted that Denroy answered this call, particularly with a proposal for a new high grade respirator mask for those staff on the frontline treating Covid patients.
“To develop a brand new product, create prototypes and have it tested, certified and considered fit for purpose within six months is quite remarkable. While I applaud Denroy for its innovation and vision, I must also recognise the work of key health staff who worked closely with Denroy innovators to refine the mask and robustly test new prototypes to get this mask in production.”
Proud of our Staff and of our Ingenuity
Denroy’s FFP3 single use mask was designed by the company’s Aerospace Engineers and filters 99% of particles from the air including the small respiratory droplets where coronavirus can be found. The masks will be used by frontline workers across Northern Ireland, from intensive care staff to community care staff.
CEO of Denroy Group, Kevin McNamee said: “We are proud of our staff and of our ingenuity over the last year, and the contribution we made during a time of national crisis. As well as helping with the emergency need for PPE, we have invested over £3million in a new manufacturing facility, created over 130 jobs and secured this £19.5m contract with HSCNI.
“Our plans are to grow our business further, create more jobs and build on this contract in our target markets of Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and the United States in the coming year. We have drawn on the extensive expertise of the team at Invest NI and we’re very grateful for their support.”
Invest NI has offered Denroy Group Ltd £1.5m of support towards the creation of all 130 jobs, which includes a repayable loan of £900,000. The company has already created all of the new jobs.
Kevin Holland, CEO of Invest NI said: “Denroy has shown ingenuity and resilience with its move into the manufacturing of PPE. We have been pleased to provide a range of support to the company throughout the pandemic, from advice on standards for masks to assistance towards the new jobs. We look forward to helping it secure new export markets and I know our in-market teams are already working hard to support the company to achieve this.”
Veterans Parade Returns to Newtownards on 24 September
A parade led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, supported by Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, will form part of the annual Veterans Evening in Conway Square, Newtownards, on Friday 24 September at 7pm.
The event will be hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and will recognise the invaluable contribution of men and women from across the Borough who served their country, both at home and abroad.
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:
“We have many serving and past members of the Armed Forces living in the Borough. This annual event pays tribute to our veterans and it is a time to remember those who served, sacrificed and fought for our freedom. I look forward to the event and hope that many of our residents will line the streets in support of our veterans.”
Starting from Court Square at 7pm, the band will follow a route to Conway Square (via Court Street and South Street) where it will be received by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down.
A Beating Retreat ceremony, with a colourful cavalcade of military music, tradition and precision drill, will then take place, with Royal British Legion veterans parading alongside members of the many regimental associations from the Borough and beyond.
The band will follow a return route from Conway Square to Court Square via High Street, Mill Street, Gibson’s Lane, Regent Street, Frances Street, Castle Place and Castle Street.
‘Chatty Bench’ Installed in Bangor to Tackle Loneliness
Ards and North Down Borough Council has placed its first ‘Chatty Bench’ in the beautiful surroundings of Bangor Castle Walled Garden.
Designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community, Chatty Benches are popping up all around the country to provide a place for people to come together, chat and connect.
After more than a year of social distancing, the brightly coloured bench is designed to attract attention and encourage people to talk to each other.
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:
“Chatty Benches are an excellent initiative to tackle loneliness in our community. They provide designated places that encourage people to meet and talk, even if they don’t know each other. The Council will soon install a second bench in Newtownards’ Londonderry Park, so if you feel like you want to chat with someone, simply take a seat on a Chatty Bench.”
Bangor Castle Walled Garden is an award-winning park that holds a prestigious Green Flag Award. It is a popular destination with residents and visitors to the Borough.