We may have reached the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in London and hopefully the curve is flattening now, but NHS and social care staff are still facing shortages of PPE (personal protective equipment). Care home staff and home carers also need this vital equipment, and by the 17th of April, Richmond Council has still only received around 5,500 masks and aprons for these frontline workers across the borough.
To address the shortage, several groups of local volunteers are working to supply frontline workers with home-made equipment, such as 3D-printed face shields and hand-sewn scrubs. You can help them by becoming a maker, a volunteer or donating towards the cost of materials – read more about these initiatives below.
Scrub Hub are a network of voluntary community groups who love to sew, and are making scrubs to order for NHS staff and social care workers who are struggling to get them during this crisis. They are raising funds to buy the materials they need to make scrubs, isolation gowns, etc for our local healthcare providers. In our area (Kew, Richmond, Twickenham, Isleworth) there is need particularly in care homes and hospices. You can donate to the Kew group here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/scrub-hub-kew and the Teddington group here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/tw-sews-scrubs. Contact them via their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/551893912130167/.
If you’ve got a 3D printer at home, you can join the nationwide 3DCrowd initiative. Its volunteers are printing face shields for the NHS and the demand is huge: over half a million pieces have been requested by frontline doctors, nurses, medical and social care staff and organisations. As of now more than 40,000 orders have been fulfilled and anyone with a 3D printer is encouraged to join the effort. Other ways of supporting the group is joining as a logistics volunteer or donating to cover the cost of materials and transport. You can sign up on the website (https://www.3dcrowd.uk/) as a volunteer and will be put in touch with your local group; donate to the fundraiser here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/3dcrowd-emergency-3d-printed-face-shields
“We have received requests for face shields from staff at our local hospitals as well as from local GP surgeries and we are working hard to fulfil these requests. If you, a relative or a work colleague has access to a 3D printer can you please direct them to 3D Crowd UK in an effort to produce more PPE for NHS and other front line staff” writes East Sheen resident Ivor Conway, who is a 3D Crowd UK co-ordinator.
Ivor was also keen to alert NHS staff and other front line staff to the fact that they can apply to receive face shields currently being produced in the community. “If you are in need of a face shield and are a NHS worker and any other form of front line staff please submit at application for help on the 3D Crowd UK website”.
Local parents from Thomson House have also set up a manufacturing hub that is supplying face shields using a design created by an A&E doctor at Chelsea and Westminster. The group has adopted the name “Make Visors Not Banana Bread” and parents and children from the school have successfully supplied hundreds of face shields to local NHS staff and other front line workers.
Both groups are ruining desperately short of supplies and if you can help with rolls of button hole elastic, A3 or A4 sheets of 240 or 250 micron PVC, or self adhesive foam, please do get in touch.