International food and drink group Princes has announced a Covid-19 response programme.

The firm, which has a production facility in the Eden Valley, said it had already distributed more than 250,000 products to communities across the UK, Italy and the Mauritius.

Princes bottles its popular Aqua Pura water brand at Low Plains, near Armathwaite.

It said it was working with the NHS to provide more than 250,000 bottles of water to the five new Nightingale hospitals in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff.

The company, which also produces well-known brands including Crosse & Blackwell, Batchelors, Flora and Branston, has a rolling partnership with food bank charities in the UK and Italy, sharing products from canned fish and soups to pasta and sauces with those in need.

So far, it has distributed 265,000 cans or boxes of its products to partners, including FareShare in the UK.

David McDiarmid, corporate relations director at Princes Group, said: “The Covid-19 virus has seen an unparalleled call on our industry to step up and meet demand from consumers who need both the reassurance and nutrition of a steady supply of food and drink.

“Our top priority is of course our duty of care to our employees. They are making Herculean efforts day after day.”

Social distancing measures have been implemented and non-essential employees are working from home. The company has also shared products between sites to ensure those working shift patterns are able to take Princes products home rather than needing to visit a supermarket.