In an amazing short space of time, Swanage residents have created over a thousand homemade face masks for volunteers and care home staff, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The speedy response came after Swanage Neighbours, who’s coordinating the Swanage Community Coronavirus Response Facebook group, appealed to anyone handy with a sewing machine to help produce the masks.
Surgical face masks are hard to buy and many front line staff need them desperately, so in a bid not to deprive key workers from supplies, the group asked people to sew some for them.
The masks have now been distributed to all the volunteers who wanted them in Swanage, who are helping their neighbours with shopping and picking up prescriptions in town. Everyone is getting two masks, one to wear and one for the wash.
There were so many masks, that the team have also been able to distribute the face masks to local care homes, including York House, Abbeyfield, Wordsworth, Heathcote, Clifftop, Old Rectory and Gainsborough. Further afield, masks have been sent to care homes in Wareham, Dorchester, Bournemouth and Charminster.
Follow UK Government guidelines
While the scientific community is undecided over the use of face masks for individuals, there is reasonable evidence that the wearing of masks prevents the distribution of droplets that could harbour the virus.
The homemade cotton face masks are not intended to replace personal protective equipment for key workers but are to support those who otherwise would have nothing to protect themselves or others. Anyone wearing a mask should follow UK Government guidelines and carry out good hand hygiene.
They are best worn with a filter and a stick-on panty liner can work well to increase the mask’s effectiveness (Always Plus Maxi is recommended), although they are mainly to prevent a person from breathing and coughing on others, rather than personal protection.
Alongside the cotton face masks, people have also been crocheting button holders to fix elasticated masks in place. Many hundreds have been made and distributed as well.
The extraodinary enthusiasm and skill to make so many hand made masks and button holders in such a quick time by the Swanage community, has been welcomed by many.
Vicki Keddy from York House said:
“Thank you to our wonderful community – all of us at York House are extremely grateful for all your time and effort in helping us and our residents stay safe.”
While Debbie O’Keefe from the Old Rectory, added:
“Can I please thank you all for supporting us at the Old Rectory. It is so nice to be thought of at this difficult time x”
Sarah Brookes, one of Swanage Neighbours’ district coordinators, who is at the forefront of the face mask production line said:
“I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who rallied round, to all the people who donated material, those who sewed them together and all those who distributed them around Swanage. It’s been an amazing team effort!
“It’s been lovely reading the notes included with the masks and button holders, when they’ve been delivered to me. It’s been so busy with such a high demand that I haven’t been able to personally thank everyone who made them but I want you all to know that the people who’ve received your face masks and button holders, made with such love and care, have been incredibly grateful.”
If anyone else would like one of the face mask packs, they should visit the Swanage Community Coronavirus Response group and send the team a message.