Glasgow online travel accessories retailer Trtl, whose sales have dropped 95% in the past two weeks has donated 5,000 pairs of compression socks to help Scots nurses combat Covid-19.
Worth £125,000, the colourful knee-length socks will help 5,000 acute nurses in six hospitals across Scotland fight fatigue in the coming weeks.
And the firm has pledged to give away 5,000 more in the next seven days to nurses in London, bringing the total to 10,000 (£250,000).
Trtl (pronounced ‘turtle’) has donated the compression socks to acute nurses at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Royal Alexandra Hospital (Paisley) and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan. Each hospital has received 1,000.
In addition, nurses at The Royal Edinburgh Hospital will take 1,000 while Trtl has given 500 to nurses at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital and 500 to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The company, which employs 30 people in Glasgow, had stockpiled thousands of the socks in advance of its peak summer season.
But with sales stalling due to the Covid-19 pandemic and little prospect of travel bans being rescinded any time soon, CEO Michael Corrigan decided to use them to support frontline nurses in his home city, across Scotland and in worst-hit London instead.
He explained: “Although the compression socks have been most popular with airline travellers, at the start of this year we ran a small campaign with nurses around the world and they were really happy with them. Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about how we can contribute in what is the biggest crisis many of us will face in our lifetimes. When something like this happens it very rapidly puts things into perspective.
“Nurses across the UK will be tested as never before in the coming weeks and if we can do something to help make the time they spend on their feet more comfortable, we must. I couldn’t just see these socks sitting in a warehouse when they could be helping people saving lives. That’s what’s important, and nurses need all the help they can get just now.”
John Stuart is the chief nurse at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He said: “We are under no illusions about what we are going to face in the weeks to come. Our nurses work incredibly hard and can spend hours and hours on the move during every shift. With these compression socks we can help our staff alleviate some of the discomfort and aches associated with being on your feet for long periods of time and help them better face the challenges that are coming our way with Covid-19. Any gesture like this can help boost morale and hopefully the colourful designs will help brighten the days of our nursing staff.”
A 2015 study found that the average NHS worker walks 3.6 miles a day with some recording up to 11 miles.
Nurses regularly work 12-hour shifts and wearing compression socks reduces leg soreness, swollen ankles and varicose veins.
Established in 2013, Trtl is majority-owned-and-run by founder Michael Corrigan (32), who was born on Glasgow’s south side.
He added: “This may be the biggest challenge we will ever face as a generation and how we react as individuals and collectively could define us in the years to come.”
Best known for its Trtl Travel Pillow, which has sold 1.6M worldwide, Trtl sells a range of travel items from compression socks to packing pods.
Most of its products are bought online through trtltravel.com and retailers such as Amazon.
The company, which won Small Exporter of the Year at the Scottish Export Awards in 2018, is expert at using social media and messaging apps to drive sales.