A not-for-profit organisation set up to supply COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) to the NHS and UK care homes is gathering pace with the support of Lloyds Bank.

London-headquartered UK Mask Force was co-founded in April by William Ralston-Saul who, having worked in China for several years and with friends still there, saw a viable supply line in purchasing PPE from China to distribute in the UK. Lloyds Bank backed the move by helping the UK Mask Force team set up an account for donations in just 72 hours.

The organisation has since raised more than £30,000 to continue buying the equipment, and has so far delivered it to hospitals and care homes in London, the Midlands, South East and Yorkshire.

A popular tool to date has been the ‘SOS’ button on its website, which visitors can click on for the UK Mask Force team to strive to deliver PPE to their location within 24 hours.

UK Mask Force has former British Armed Forces Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Louis Patrick Lillywhite on board as its senior medical adviser and former NHS GP Dr Abraze Khalique as its medical equipment adviser. It is also in the process of recruiting a number of celebrity ambassadors, which so far include actress Ruth Wilson and Reading Football Club captain Liam Moore, to help spread the word about the service UK Mask Force offers.

Co-founder William Ralston-Saul says Lloyds Bank played a big part in the collective effort to get UK Mask Force off the ground as quickly as possible.

He said: “Lloyds Bank was key in getting us operational and has been by our side every step of the way. We’re initially focusing on the efficient supply of face masks. We believe having teams on the ground in China and the UK will help us continue to ensure quality control right across our supply chain. Our goal is to support the NHS and care homes in this ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”

Brendon Shanahan, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, added: “The team behind UK Mask Force is full of passion for what it is doing, helping to protect as many people as possible from this terrible virus. Its team of like-minded individuals with expertise in a range of areas is already making a visible difference, and its network and reach will only continue to expand. We are proud to get behind such an inspiring venture.”