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Thousands of masks donated by local Chinese community

(l-r): Lynne Hodgson, Deputy Chief Executive of Age UK Plymouth; Cordelia Murphy, DCCA Chief Officer; Councillor Chris Penberthy; Lin Lau, DCCA Secretary and Marin Lai, President of DCCA.

The Council has taken delivery of 34,000 face masks from the Devon and Cornwall Chinese Association (DCCA).

The masks have been gifted to the Council, completely free of charge, so that they can be distributed to local organisations, voluntary groups and charities on the front line of the Coronavirus pandemic who may not have the funds for such a quantity of PPE. 

The DCCA is a non-political, non-religious organisation that serves to enhance liaison between the Chinese community in the Westcountry and the wider world. 

By raising money through donations and home-based sponsored walks, the group raised a staggering £24,000 and then used business contacts to spend some of the money on facemasks from Hong Kong. The rest has been donated to NHS charities.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, whose cabinet responsibilities include community cohesion, was there to receive the masks in person last week.

Chris said: “I am so incredibly grateful for the wonderful gesture shown by the Devon and Cornwall Chinese Association.

“I have said numerous times that despite the challenging times that we live in, the wonderful good that people from all walks have life have shown in the face of adversity has been magnificent and this is no exception.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone in the Chinese community who supported this monumental fundraising feat. Your generosity will make a difference to so many people.”

Shei Ling, Vice-president of the Devon and Cornwall Chinese Association said: “Our efforts and donations will never be able to repay the millions of frontline workers or make up for lives that have been lost during this unprecedented time.  

“We aim to continue to spread kindness and positivity to those around us.  We believe, small actions will become prominent when we work together as one.”

Local charity Age UK Plymouth are one of the charities to benefit from the new masks. The group have been crucial partners of the recent Caring for Plymouth, the operation which has seen some of the most vulnerable residents shielded for the virus.

Age UK Plymouth will also be helping to distribute the masks to neighbouring local authorities.

Deputy chief executive Lynne Hodgson said: “Age UK Plymouth are extremely grateful to the Chinese Association for their most generous donation of face masks. 

“Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic our Help at Home team were not required to wear full PPE but now we have been able to re-introduce the service to older people in need this donation has made a huge difference and saved the charity a lot of money”   

The Council will now begin the process of allocating the masks and expect to have them delivered to the grateful recipients by the end of the month.