A REFRIGERATED van manufacturer is ensuring the nation has access to drugs and food supplies despite having a skeleton workforce.

Burnley-based CoolKit has a team of 25 – having taken the difficult decision to furlough some 70 per cent of its workforce – working to convert vehicles essential to the safe delivery of vital supplies to frontline organisations during the coronavirus pandemic

Rupert Gatty, CoolKit CEO, said: “We feel duty bound to join the national effort at this unprecedented time.

"The most important things needed around the country right now are medicines and food supplies and we are helping our customers increase the safe transportation of these products.

“Ensuring these orders are met is not an easy task as most light commercial vehicle retailers who we usually source our vans from are closed, many partners needed in the conversion process are closed, most UK component suppliers are closed and we can’t access any of the required goods from overseas.

“I’m lucky to have a knowledgeable and determined team who are pulling out all the stops to get these conversions completed and delivered to where they need to be.”

One of the firm’s customers is FareShare, a national organisation delivering food supplies to frontline charities, providing a lifeline to those most at risk, including children and families and those who are sick and self-isolating.

Glenn McCulley, CoolKit’s sales and marketing director said: “FareShare is a valued customer which urgently requested two more refrigerated vans to meet rocketing demand.

"The charity already had 14 of our refrigerated vans and we knew how vital it was for them to expand this fleet during the pandemic, so we offered them one of our own.”

James Persad, at FareShare, said: “We are working extremely hard to deliver vital food supplies to those in need, so these vans play an extremely important role in ensuring that the food reaches people safely.

“We are very grateful to CoolKit.”

Work being carried out for medical and pharmaceutical requirements is confidential at t