Stafford mother honoured for pandemic PPE production

A woman from Stafford has been recognised in the New Year's Honours for her work producing PPE for NHS heroes.

Lianne Al-Khaldi receives a BEM for her work during the pandemic
Lianne Al-Khaldi receives a BEM for her work during the pandemic

Lianne Al-Khaldi, 38, from Stafford, receives the BEM for her work during the pandemic, organising the production of 3,500 items of protective equipment for NHS and care workers across the West Midlands.

"I'm very honoured, but still in shock," she said.

Mrs Al-Khaldi became involved after seeing a group on Facebook, and began making laundry bags for medical scrubs. The work quickly expanded to include ear protectors which make it easier to wear masks for prolonged periods, and eventually making the scrubs themselves.

She continued this work following the announcement of the national lockdown in March 2020, alongside working full-time at the Ministry of Defence and home-schooling her four children.

Her daughters Mai, 15, Enya, 13, and Imani, 12, also helped out, after she taught them to read patterns, cut fabric and use the sewing machine to make items that were urgently needed for workers, while her husband Sama became involved with distribution.

This operation soon grew to include a team of 35 volunteers from across Stafford who she coordinated on a weekly basis to organise the collection and delivery of fabric.

She worked with NHS trusts, care homes, and local councillors to organise doorstep collections and distributions.

Mrs Al-Khaldi also formed a support group with the volunteers so they could be there for each other, with many shielding due to ill-health and older age.

She also helps her daughter Imani run a 'community fridge' called Imani's Incredible Eats, which works with local food banks and children's centres across Stafford.

The project, which Imani started at the age of eight, now supports more than 1,000 families across Stafford, ensuring they have access to a fresh and healthy balanced diet.

"I'm now her PA," joked Mrs Al-Khaldi.

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