- in Technology
Former striker Dexter Blackstock is using the company he founded in retirement to help the public donate much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline staff dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Medical technology firm MediConnect receives donations, which it then uses to purchase PPE direct from manufacturers and wholesalers.
Those who donate are then able to specify where those supplies should be sent, with local councils and care homes among those benefiting.
“We’ve got the connections to help in this tragic time of need,” the 33-year-old told BBC East Midlands Today.
“We are in close contact with all parties down the pharma chain, manufacturers, distributors, logistics, pharmacies, the lot.
“The need for PPE is huge at the moment and when the NHS is struggling to get it, just imagine the problems that are being seen lower in the chain.
“Because I can source direct at cost price using the not-for-profit donations, it means I can physically buy the product and get it delivered to where it is needed most. That could be a care home in Nottingham or any health service anywhere in the country.”
The government has come under attack during the coronavirus pandemic over shortages of PPE for some staff who need it when doing their jobs.
But health secretary Matt Hancock said last week that “herculean” efforts were being made to obtain further supplies for care homes, as well as hospitals, including single-use disposable gloves, aprons and face masks.
Deliveries to be filmed
Within two days of Blackstock’s company accepting donations, more than £10,000 had been generated for the cause.
And he has set a target of being able to distribute £1m worth of equipment.
Each contribution sent via donatetonhs.com can be followed up with an email request, directing it to be supplied to wherever people feel it is needed.
“We are giving people that donate a say,” Blackstock said. “I hope that gives people more of a feel for where their money is going.
“If anyone feels that a certain care home is struggling for supply, we will get it there.
“And when it is delivered we bring a camera along to film it being dropped off to make sure it is all transparent.”
As a footballer, Blackstock spent 14 years scoring goals up and down the country, featuring for eight clubs including Southampton, QPR, Nottingham Forest, Leeds and Rotherham before retiring in 2017.
At international level, he won England Under-21 caps before going on to play for Antigua and Barbuda.
But he says no goal, no win, no amount of joy the game brought him compares to what he is now trying to achieve.
“This is much bigger than anything to do with football,” he added.
“This is something to really be proud of, helping a nation in need. It is something that makes my family proud.
“This is a huge problem and I can’t solve it, but if I can help a little bit and everyone chips in an little bit, then we will come out the other side okay as a county.”