Ipswich schools unite to build 1,500 PPE pieces in just two weeks
PUBLISHED: 19:00 14 April 2020
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 began building face masks two weeks ago using overhead projector sheets and polypropylene frames using laser cutters.
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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.
“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 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.
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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