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Published: May 4, 2020 | Updated: May 4, 2020

Dorset Biz News round-up featuring: Mad River, Percy’s, HEROES, Marketing West, Chris Loder MP, NHS 111 and Dorset HealthCare

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Tasty treat which will raise money for our NHS frontline heroes

A Bournemouth brand communications agency has played a key role in an ambitous bid to raise £250,000 to support frontline NHS staff.

Mad River has created packaging design and also helped with communications for craft biscuit bakery Percy’s.

The family owned company has created a charitable shortbread biscuit in partnership with HEROES, the British Medical Association (BMA) backed charity.

100 per cent of all profits from sales of the biscuits will be donated to the charity with the aim of raising more than £250,000.

Production in Percy’s Somerset bakery started from April 20 and the product is already available in Spar, Harrods, Blakemore’s, Virginia Hayward, & Milk & More with more national retailers and wholesalers expected to follow.

Cia-Louise Coton, Mad River’s Managing Director, said: “We are incredibly proud to be working with Percy’s and HEROES on this project.

“We can’t fight Covid-19 on the frontlines, but we can use our decades of design and campaign experience, and our contacts, to help create a truly special project.

“We have worked with Percy’s and HEROES to create the Biscuits for HEROES campaign and would be thrilled if we can help raise £250,000 for the NHS at this critical time.

“HEROES is doing wonderful work to provide PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), food, financial and counselling support to NHS staff, and Percy’s makes incredible biscuits – what better way to stay home and protect the NHS than with a packet of chocolate-chip shortbreads that do good with every bite?”

Liam Pithers, Percy’s Founder, said: “We knew we had to do something to help and what better than baking our favourite shortbread.

“Donating all the profits to support the heroic NHS staff is a privilege.

“We are a country of biscuit lovers, so we want to encourage everyone to Nibble, Dunk, Share & most of all Care.”

Dr Dominic Pimenta, HEROES Co-Founder, added: “At HEROES we have one mission at our heart, to help them help us, and at this point the NHS need our help more than ever before.

“We are both honoured and excited to partner with Percy’s.

“It’s a hard, unprecedented time but it’s with support like theirs that means we can go that much further to help NHS staff in their fight against Covid-19.”

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West Dorset MP joins Marketing West virtual breakfast

West Dorset MP Chris Loder is the guest speaker at the next online meeting staged by Marketing West.

To help local businesses during the current lockdown, the marketing and business events company has launched weekly video networking groups covering the West and North West Dorset areas as well as South Somerset.

The Zoom-based meetings have a weekly speaker covering a relevant current topic.

The latest one tomorrow, Tuesday May 5, at 1.30pm features Mr Loder, pictured left, who will update local businesses on the current issues and answer questions.

Nigel Reeve, of Marketing West, pictured right, said: “We are doing all we can to help local businesses.

“We are already finding this is helping build relationships that will continue long after the lockdown has ended.

“Chris Loder will have up to date knowledge of current developments relevant to our area.

“We are also bringing in other high profile business speakers over the next few weeks to give local businesses an even broader picture of the current position.”

The ‘virtual meetings’ are free and all businesses are welcome.

To book a place and receive the login details please email networking@marketingwest.co.uk giving your name and business name.

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Dedicated NHS 111 staff join Dorset HealthCare

A service at the heart of local efforts to contain and manage the Covid-19 virus is now being run by Dorset HealthCare.

Staff behind the county’s NHS 111 service have seen a massive surge in calls and online requests since the start of the pandemic, with calls topping 10,000 a week during March – a 62 per cent increase on the previous month.

The clinical advice and support they have given has greatly reduced the need for people attend treatment centres, relieving pressure on the NHS and limiting the spread of the virus locally.

The service has been operated by the South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust but from May 1 its staff – around 260 people, mostly based at St Leonards – have transferred to Dorset HealthCare.

NHS 111 is a key part of the county’s Integrated Urgent Care Service (IUCS), which is run by Dorset HealthCare in partnership with other local NHS Trusts and GPs.

Joining up with out-of-hours primary care and community night nursing services, the IUCS helps patients access the advice or treatment they need more quickly.

Eugine Yafele, Chief Executive Officer, Dorset HealthCare, pictured left, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the 111 staff to Dorset HealthCare which will undoubtedly further strengthen links across local urgent care services.

“The service has performed particularly well during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Dedicated staff have worked additional hours to meet the enormous increase in calls to NHS 111 and to cover their colleagues in self-isolation.

“With good IT support, clinicians and GPs have been able to work from home to provide advice and care over the phone, reducing the need for people to attend treatment centres and risk exposure to the virus.

“The 111 team is a fundamental part of how we provide urgent care services, and its staff will be a huge asset going forward.”