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Ipswich schools unite to build 1,500 PPE pieces in just two weeks

PUBLISHED: 19:00 14 April 2020

The face shields are made using the same material used for projector slides  Picture: IPSWICH SCHOOL

The face shields are made using the same material used for projector slides Picture: IPSWICH SCHOOL

IPSWICH SCHOOL

An Ipswich school’s drive to build PPE for health workers during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in 1,500 pieces being built in just a couple of weeks, and several schools on board.

Ipswich School made more than 150 pieces of personal protective equipment for NHS staff within days of annoucning the project. Picture: IPSWICH SCHOOLIpswich School made more than 150 pieces of personal protective equipment for NHS staff within days of annoucning the project. Picture: IPSWICH SCHOOL

Ipswich School began building face masks two weeks ago using overhead projector sheets and polypropylene frames using laser cutters.

MORE: BT and Farlingaye team up to make PPE

After receiving more than 300 orders overnight on day one, staff and children have been involved in constructing the vital pieces of personal protective equipment, and distributing them to frontline health professionals – including hospitals, care homes, dentists, GPs and bus drivers.

The school has now attracted other design and technology departments in Ipswich, including Kesgrave High, Westbourne Academy and Northgate High, and as of Tuesday had made 1,540 pieces between them.

Jake Steward, technology teacher at Ipswich School, said: “We’re over the moon to know we can make that kind of impact.

Rhiannon Blackman from One Sixth Form College with one of the face masks she has made for frontline health workers. Picture: RHIANNON BLACKMANRhiannon Blackman from One Sixth Form College with one of the face masks she has made for frontline health workers. Picture: RHIANNON BLACKMAN

“This is what DT [design and technology] is all about – being adaptable, and we are delighted to be able to do our bit.

“We just want to make sure health workers are safe.

“We have all sorts of overwhelming messages from people saying they want to meet us in person and give us a hug when this is over – it’s really touching what we can do in our area.”

MORE: Follow the Suffolk Coronavirus Facebook page for latest updates

As the schools prepare to carry on lessons next week online, Ipswich Makerspace have stepped up to help continue the schools’ campaign.

Ipswich borough councillor Alasdair Ross delivering some of the PPE made by Ipswich schools to a dental practice in Colchester. Picture: ALASDAIR ROSSIpswich borough councillor Alasdair Ross delivering some of the PPE made by Ipswich schools to a dental practice in Colchester. Picture: ALASDAIR ROSS

Ipswich borough councillor Alasdair Ross has been among the volunteers distributing the kit, and praised the efforts of Mr Steward, and Rachel Clark from the DT team.

He added: “It’s a really good project. Everyone we have been to has been really thankful for it, it’s really been a team effort.”

Elsewhere in Ipswich, One Sixth Form College has donated all of the PPE from its labs to Ipswich Hospital, while art and design teacher Rhiannon Blackman has been using a 3D printer to make visors and masks, resulting in 140 masks being distributed.

Suffolk New College and Suffolk Rural meanwhile have pooled their PPE, which included thousands of disposable gloves, more than 3,000 disposable aprons, alcohol gel, dust masks, shoe covers and anti-bacterial wipes.

Ipswich School technology teacher Rachel Clark celebrating the 1,540 PPE pieces made for frontline workers. Picture: IPSWICH SCHOOLIpswich School technology teacher Rachel Clark celebrating the 1,540 PPE pieces made for frontline workers. Picture: IPSWICH SCHOOL

MORE: Ipswich School begins making PPE equipment

Suffolk New College vice-principal, Mary Gleave, said: “Curriculum teams have been incredibly supportive in offering up their supplies, including catering, construction, engineering, hair and beauty and our facilities team.

“We are so pleased to be able to do our part to help protect the NHS and saves lives.”

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