Magnificent seven make PPE work a family affair in Wigan

A Wigan family of seven is helping to save lives by making PPE during the pandemic.
The AthertonsThe Athertons
The Athertons

The Athertons, from Golborne, wanted to do their bit for the NHS and frontline workers.

At the start of the Covid crisis, they joined the Alpha Solway factory, which is part of the biggest British-based PPE manufacturer Globus Group.

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Amanda Atherton, who started as a production operative last November, said: “I enjoyed working at Alpha from the get-go, especially after the uncertainty of trying to find a job over Covid-19. I thought it was going to give me some respite from family chores but then they all followed.”

Her husband, Steven, started a few months later, after spending the previous 11 years at a construction firm.

Initially he started as a weekend worker, before going full time as a team leader.

He made the decision following the death of his close friend Gordon Fairhurst, who suffered a short battle with Covid-19.

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Mr Atherton said: “After witnessing first-hand the horror that Covid-19 was inflicting on families across the country, I was desperate to give something back and help the NHS.

“Close relatives of mine are key workers within the NHS and the police, and I wanted to join them in contributing to the efforts of protecting the public from Covid-19.

“My job at Alpha Solway has provided me with a purpose throughout the pandemic and it’s good to know I’ve made a positive contribution during these difficult times.”

Since Mr and Mrs Atherton started, five other family members have joined the business including their daughter Chloe and nieces Kathleen, Heather and Ellie.

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Their 21-year-old son Thomas has also been employed by Globus Group, after previously struggling to find employment due to being deaf.

The factory has been supportive since he joined, providing a cochlear implant and putting measures in place to aid his career.

Mr Atherton said: “I’m very proud of the company and what they have done for my son. He has achieved so much since starting at Alpha Solway and it has boosted his confidence significantly.

“Finding permanent work here has been a lifeline for me and my family and has completely turned our world around for the better.”

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While some businesses were shutting down at the start of the pandemic, Globus Group undertook its biggest recruitment drive, with hundreds of employees taken on in a matter of months.

This was due to the high demand of PPE, as the company accelerated plans to produce 75 per cent of products in the UK. They are currently on track to have employed a total of more than 1,000 new recruits by the end of 2021.

Helen Dawson, Head of People at Globus Group, said: “With over 25 years of heritage, we’re proud of our family-feel culture and it’s wonderful to see families like the Athertons progressing and adding such value to the company. Globus has prioritised long-term investment in its people. We wanted to create viable local jobs for the community.”

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