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Start-Up Helps Bring Medical-Grade PPE To UK’s Front Lines

19 May 2020

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, health and hygiene business FIG Products, felt strongly about doing something to help.

The South Coast start-up was co-founded by Matt Anderson and Stephen Gear only 18 months ago. But, when Anderson’s other business, hand dryer company, Velair, was approached by a large national client desperately in need of medical grade PPE, the pair knew that FIG Products had some great links and the ability to help.

“We had an established network of hygiene product manufacturers in China that I’d worked with on and off for 8 years, so we started making some enquiries.” says Gear.  

As it turned out, FIG did have access to supply chains in China that could source and supply the desperately needed medical grade PPE. So they started organising getting PPE to the UK.


“Not enough people in the UK were able to successfully bring quality PPE products into the country. So, when I started getting requests from businesses I work with, I knew we needed to do something to give back if we could.”

–Matt Anderson

Co-founder, FIG Products and MD of Velair


This was a big change from the business’ usual focus, as FIG Products predominantly manufacturers in the washroom arena. The business is still in its infancy, but Gear and Anderson were happy to refocus their efforts:

“Not enough people in the UK were able to successfully bring quality PPE products into the country. So, when I started getting requests from businesses I work with, I knew we needed to do something to give back if we could.” says Anderson.


Having sourced and organised PPE supply chains for UK contacts, FIG contacted Frontline Facemasks, a Dorset based group supporting frontline workers struggling to get adequate PPE for the environment they work in during the pandemic. In April, FIG Products donated 480 KN95 medical-grade facemasks to the non-profit group to distribute out to staff in GP surgeries, pharmacies, nursing homes, care homes hospices and charities providing health and care services via their contacts at Dorset Clinical Commissions Group.

Anderson continues: “After we made the donation, we thought why stop there? As a small independent start-up we’re quite limited with what we can do, but we had the resource to set up the website, which accrues donation masks through sales, which then go to Frontline Facemasks to distribute out where they are needed in the community.

"This means that purchasers can also feel they are doing their bit to support UK frontline workers with PPE too, as for every five masks bought through, one medical-grade facemask is donated by FIG Products to those who need it on the front line."

Picture: A photograph of Matt Anderson packing PPE into boxes

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 19 May 2020


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