TENS of thousands of toilet rolls will be distributed to vulnerable people in Northumberland following a donation by a Prudhoe factory.

Essity, which runs Prudhoe Mill, donated 60,000 toilet rolls to Northumberland County Council's shielding hub.

Knowing the high demand for the product, the company made the huge donation to be given to residents as part of the free essential food parcels being delivered direct to doorsteps for shielded residents.

A so-called shielding hub was set up by the county council at Blyth Sports Centre, following the government's announcement on shielding last week.

Coun. Cath Homer, the council’s cabinet member for the community and voluntary sector said: “We want to say a huge thank you to Essity for this incredibly generous donation.

“These food parcels are essential in helping support the most vulnerable and at risk at this time and to have the support of one of the main employers in our county is phenomenal.

“The response from businesses, communities and individuals who have offered their help, whether through donations such as this or by volunteering, is outstanding.

"By continuing to work together and supporting each other we can make sure that our communities remain safe and protected.”

Coun. Gordon Stewart, who represents Prudhoe South, also praised the company.

Coun. Stewart said: "We are so fortunate to have such a major employer in our town and one that is such a big part of our community.

"I was delighted  with the response from Essity when we entered into discussions about how they could show their support during this very challenging time." 

Essity had already donated thousands of toilet rolls to charity In Kind Direct.

The company's UK operations director for consumer tissue, Tony Richards, said: “Prudhoe Mill has been making tissue products on this site for 50 years, and as the town’s biggest employer – and second largest in Northumberland – we really value our links with the community.

“When the Coronavirus pandemic first kicked off, it seemed you couldn’t open a newspaper or turn on a television without seeing selfish shoppers panic-buying loo rolls.

“There was never a shortage, thanks to the huge stocks in our supply chain. But it quickly became apparent that vulnerable members of society were unable to get hold of this household essential as shops simply couldn’t fill their shelves fast enough.

“So, we were delighted when Northumberland County Council rose to the challenge and provided a way of getting our product into the hands of people that urgently needed it.

“As a critical supplier of paper products to the NHS, I’m also immensely proud of the way those of my colleagues unable to work from home are coming into the mill, rising to the challenge of our rigorous Coronavirus controls and getting on with the job.”