By Christopher Morgan
Huddersfield’s Chinese sister city has donated 10,000 face masks to help protect Kirklees Council staff on the frontline delivering services and supporting the most vulnerable through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Taizhou in the Zhejiang Province of China has sent a large shipment of protective masks to Kirklees Council.
The Council, alongside the University of Huddersfield and ConnectChina, has been developing a close relationship with Taizhou for some time, and last autumn the Council signed a letter of intent with the Chinese city to develop its economic, social and cultural links further.
The council will soon receive some 10,000 face masks that will be used by frontline staff caring for vulnerable people or delivering key services.
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “This is such a generous and thoughtful gesture and I cannot thank the people of Taizhou enough for their kindness.
“In times like this we all pull together under the umbrella of humanity in fighting a common enemy that does not discriminate on whom it attacks.
“The togetherness of local people from the very beginning of our response to COVID-19 has been a huge positive in very difficult circumstances.
“The amount of residents and organizations who want to do their bit to look after our communities and the people in them has been overwhelming and it’s what we’re all about in Kirklees.
“Our friends in Taizhou might be thousands of miles away but they’re very much a part of our Kirklees community.
“This donation will help protect our staff caring for our most vulnerable residents and those making sure the vital services we all rely on continue to run. Thank you so much to the people of Taizhou.”
Madam Bei Wang, the Executive Deputy Director of International Affairs for the regional Government of Taizhou, said: “When Taizhou suffered from the COVID-19 in the past two months, we received sympathy and aid from our sister cities in many countries, which encouraged us to overcome the difficulties.
“We totally understand the arduous situation now in the UK, and we are willing to show that we stand together with Huddersfield and the whole of Kirklees.
“We hope the donation of the masks will be helpful to citizens. A friend in need is a friend indeed. We will win the battle together.”
ConnectChina – a Huddersfield-based company which specialises in supporting business and civic links between China and the UK – volunteered to coordinate the arrangements for the shipping and delivery of the masks.
Jo Lavan of ConnectChina said: “When I was first contacted by our contacts from the City of Taizhou, I realised that it was a very generous gesture from Taizhou and this will surely be the beginning of a future long and beneficial relationships between Taizhou and Kirklees.”