AN East Lancashire vaping company which created 24 jobs after switching its production focus to making hand sanitiser has joined forces with the National Care Association (NCA) to provide essential personal protective equipment to frontline key workers.

Vape Dinner Lady (VDL) has repurposed a production line at its manufacturing base in Blackburn in order to help meet unprecedented demand during and beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to producing hand sanitiser, VDL has used its strong sourcing network to import thousands of bottles of WHO-standard hand sanitiser, face masks and clinical PPE into the UK to answer immediate demand.

Company bosses say the new production was repurposed within days, and at full capacity can produce 10.5 million bottles of Sanditize hand sanitiser annually, which has a market value of £26million.

The business is eyeing up a £500,000 expansion plan to deliver projected sales, with further details due to be announced later in 2020.

VDL bosses said the company was set to initially donate 10,000 individual-use hand sanitisers to frontline care workers working within care homes in the NCA network.

VDL chief executive Mohammed Patel said: “The business feels it is vital to support those in need at this critical time particularly those in small businesses within the care sector who are often overlooked by large-scale corporate donations.

“Teaming up with the NCA we will help support those most in need at this difficult time with the best interests of our loyal customers and community at heart.”

Nadra Ahmed OBE, who has been chairperson of NCA since 2001 and involved in the field of social care for over 35 years, said: “All forms of PPE are essential for frontline staff in the fight against this virus and the demand across the UK is enormous. We expect the the demand for these items to continue over the coming months if not years. We believe it is crucial for our workforce to have access hand sanitisers in general but to personal use hand sanitiser bottles at this time is essential.

"So we’re delighted to receive this extremely generous donation from Vape Dinner Lady – it will provide reassurance and protection for carers right across the country at a time when their role in supporting some of the most vulnerable citizens in our communities is critical.”