In Hands on Science we go into schools to inspire Primary School children to enjoy science and engineering. COVID19 hit us at the end of National Science Week, our busiest week of the year and I was busy changing the organisation over from incredibly busy to hibernation. I expected that the Government would have contingency plans in place to keep PPE flowing and so I decided not to get involved.
I am an engineer though, which means that we design things to solve problems. A couple of weeks ago a friend messaged me to say that her daughter, a Registrar in palliative care was working with patients that were showing symptoms but she had no Face Shields to protect her eyes, nose and mouth from airborne droplets.
I couldn’t resist the challenge so I first designed a single use cardboard solution and after many iterations tried a few out in a medical grade plastic. I was quite pleased with the result and posted them off to her daughter.
News was now coming through that there was a shortage of FaceShields and as I had the design in place I decided to buy enough materials to make 200. I decided from the start that the design had to be light, comfortable and affordable so that we could help as many people as possible and to support this we priced them to just cover the cost of materials assembly and postage £4 each in boxes of 10.
We modified our existing website https://hands-on-science.co.uk/faceshields/ to display the FaceShields and even set up the facility to accept debit cards – all new steps for us.
We posted on FaceBook to share with our contacts the project and the engagement we got from our friends and supporters was incredible. Orders started coming in from Care Homes, At Home Care providers, Opticians and GPs.
We have since then put them on eBay to reach even more people.
One Care Home even rang me back just after their order arrived to thank us for them as they had just been offered imports from China at 3x the price. The point that we hope people will also realise is that when you buy a British Designed and made product you not only protect yourself and your residents but the taxes we pay go back to support the NHS so everyone wins.
I wear mine every day when I go to the Post Office with the day’s orders and I am noticing more and more people starting to wear facial protection. We are in this for the long haul and everyone needs to protect themselves when they do need to go out of the house to shop for instance so I’m hoping that shop keepers, who work across a counter and so meet the public face to face every day will start wearing them. The lady in the Post Office wears one and recommends them to any customers that do come in and ask about her mask. This keeps her and her customers safe as if she gets the virus she could infect hundreds of people a day before she even knows she has it.
This point is important because the Virus can’t start in the Care Home it has to be brought in. By avoiding picking the virus up while outside the home, shopping for instance, care workers can keep the home and its residents safe. One of the big dangers of this virus is that you can spread it before you exhibit symptoms so we need to be so careful.
As our orders build up we are approaching the point where we may be able to start setting our staff back on to help meet demand which is great them and the country.
Hands on Science