Aberdeen hotelier launches PPE business to keep furloughed staff in work

Bar group Malones has teamed up with the project’s founder to re-employ out-of-work staff

Sarah Colquhoun from Rosslyn North

A GRANITE City hotelier has launched a project which employs furloughed staff at her Aberdeen hotel to distribute PPE to key workers.

Spearheaded by Sarah Colquhoun, a partner at Citi Hotel, the project initially recruited staff members from the hotel to import and distribute protective equipment to local care homes and NHS workers. Colquhoun and her team now sell PPE to local businesses and residents through the online shop, Rosslyn North Supplies, and have teamed up with bar group Malones to create PPE distribution centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Colquhoun said: “When lockdown was announced, hospitality businesses closed their doors overnight and thousands of staff were placed on furlough.

“As we expand our PPE distribution service to businesses and residents, we are linking with local hospitality businesses to create central hubs from which to distribute PPE safely and efficiently, while at the same time providing employment for furloughed staff.”

Renata Matuszewska, operations manager at the Citi Hotel and who is now selling PPE, said: “For me this is a win-win. I get to do worthwhile work that benefits the local community as well as being able to bring some of my team back to work. We are a tight-knit group who are missing the camaraderie of the workplace so this is a really positive solution – the additional income to supplement furlough pay is also welcome!

“We have very strict health and safety processes whereby staff are not only social distancing, but also wearing full protective clothing to pick and pack the PPE. Businesses have lots to think about to ensure they can open and operate safely within social distancing guidelines – if we can support them by providing gloves and masks quickly and cost effectively, then that’s one less thing to worry about.”