Bread, milk, PPE – a convenient solution

June 09 2020

Marie Curie Nurses can now collect essential PPE from their local convenience store thanks to the generosity and good will of SPAR South West.

250 Marie Curie Nurses across the South West, caring for patients with and without coronavirus, are using an average of 60,000 pieces of PPE a week, including face masks, aprons, gloves, visors, goggles and hand sanitiser. Yet issues with getting enough PPE has meant the charity was experiencing a ‘logistical nightmare’ in delivering the vast quantities of vital PPE to their frontline staff across the region. 

Due to struggles obtaining a consistent supply of enough PPE, Marie Curie have been receiving a weekly delivery from the West Midlands to the charity’s base in Tiverton, Devon. From Tiverton the charity was then having to spend considerable time and funds distributing it further to Nurses in Penzance, Exmoor, Weston-Super-Mare, Bournemouth and everywhere in-between. Without the correct PPE, Marie Curie Nurses are unable to care for dying people and support their loved ones.  

This was until SPAR came up with an innovative way to help the charity. SPAR South West drivers are now collecting the PPE from Tiverton and delivering it to SPAR stores closest to each Nurses home, for them to collect at a convenient time for them, much like a PPE ‘Click & Collect’ service.

In an email thanking SPAR and their South West distribution arm, Appleby Westward, Karen Burfitt, Marie Curie South West Regional Nursing Manager said: “You have literally saved us hours of planning, coordinating and travelling. You have prevented nurses getting anxious as their shift loomed and they waited for the kit to arrive. You have prevented nurses having to stay up, rather than getting some much-needed rest before a shift, for the husband of their senior nurse to drop off the PPE. You have helped prevent us having to cancel the care of a dying person, prevented us having to make a phone call to an exhausted wife to say sorry no one is coming tonight because we couldn’t get the right PPE, to the right nurse. You have saved me and my team from additional stress and worry we really could do without.”

Karen went on to say: “I cannot thank SPAR enough. I cannot stress enough that this has been a massive part of our jobs and lives for many weeks. They have enabled us to catch our breaths - albeit briefly!”

Del Phillips, Appleby Westward Logistics Director, said: “As part of every community we serve Appleby Westward and our SPAR retailers are proud to support Marie Curie, providing a logistics solution to ensure vital PPE reaches their nurses working in those communities during these difficult times.” 

If you, or someone you know, is affected by a terminal illness, dying, death, bereavement or concerned about Coronavirus, Marie Curie’s free Support Line team are ready to help 7 days a week with the information and emotional support you need when you need it. Calls are free on 0800 090 2309*. You can also find more information on our website:

Marie Curie staff collecting PPE from SPAR South West store