Sister City

protective face mask donation

Kirklees’s ‘Sister City’, Taizhou in China’s Zhejiang Province, have donated 10,000 face masks to help its West Yorkshire twin town in the fight against Covid-19. The Taizhou/Kirklees partnership was enabled by the University’s Industrial Collaboration Manager, James Devitt (pictured).

A LARGE shipment of 10,000 protective face masks has been donated to Kirklees Council by the Chinese city of Taizhou to help protect the district’s key workers who, despite the increased risk of infection, continue to deliver essential frontline services to support the people of Huddersfield.

The gesture follows the launch of a new ‘Sister City’ partnership between the city of Taizhou and Kirklees.  This was a project spearheaded by the University of Huddersfield with the support of ConnectChina, a Huddersfield-based company which specialises in supporting business and civic links between China and the UK.

The University’s Industrial Collaboration Manager in Research and Enterprise, James Devitt, initially visited China as part of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and was accompanied by the leader of Kirklees Council, Councillor Shabir Pandor and Jo Lavan from ConnectChina. 

In December Mr Devitt returned to Taizhou in the Zhejiang Province with Professor Parik Goswami and Dr Athanasios Angelis-Dimakis, from the University’s Technical Textiles Research Centre, to strengthen ties with the Chinese city. It was during this second visit when he delivered a letter of intent that had been signed by Kirklees Council and Taizhou to develop its economic, academic, social and cultural links further. 

“This kind gesture from the city of Taizhou is a lovely example of collaboration, friendship and solidarity during what has been a worrying time for every single country around the world in the battle against COVID-19.  I am extremely proud to have had a small hand in making this happen and look forward to working with local industries in Taizhou in the near future,” says the University’s James Devitt

The new linkage was the culmination of over twelve months of relationship building led by Mr Devitt after he discovered the city of Taizhou was interested in forging connections with the area.  He then headed various meetings with local businesses and stakeholders to discuss how the Chinese connection could benefit the region.

Situated on the East China Sea coast, the city of Taizhou is one of China’s top manufacturing capitals and Mr Devitt says although there has been an obvious delay with the global pandemic, he is hopeful the new partnership will be a fruitful one.

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