When Darren Busby, of Brotherhood Lodge No 3967, together with a group of friends, learned of the shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) following the outbreak of the coronavirus, they decided to do something about it. Darren, a graphic designer by profession, rather than make a donation, bought himself a 3D printer and started to produce face visors.
In late January, the UK started hearing of cases of COVID-19 spreading across each county, in what was thought to be the early stages of an epidemic. The virus quickly spread, with reported cases increasing sharply in March and the first death reported at the beginning of that month. Very shortly afterwards the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic and the world went to war against the worst enemy it had seen in this lifetime. An enemy that stops you holding a loved one close in their final hours and that puts every member of the public, desperately required to keep the country functioning, in danger.
Some of us were lucky, we were given the option to stay at home, working in safety, or furloughed with a large proportion of our wages covered by the Government. Those key workers, both NHS and those in the community, providing services which are necessary, even in a time of crisis, are putting their lives at risk daily to support the general public. It soon became clear that the UK just did not have an adequate supply of PPE for all those in need.
A face visor serves to protect the wearer from those who get too close, or those vulnerable members of the general public who just don’t understand the need for social distancing. The confused lady who leant over the shop counter to show the assistant the medicine she needed, or the small child who coughed, without properly covering their mouth. Additionally, a face shield reminds the wearer not to touch their face, the most powerful protection we have against this deadly disease.
To date, this small group of friends alone, have created and distributed over 500 face visors to a variety of key workers, those working directly in the NHS, local care settings and shop workers. A GoFundMe page, www.gf.me/u/xv4x8f has received numerous generous donations from the general public, which has facilitated the purchase of necessary materials. This has supported the group in donating all masks free of charge to prevent financial barriers impacting on the need to save lives. Covering the Fylde coast area initially, demand has quickly grown, and supplies have been sent to both Trinity and Victoria Hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, and care homes around the region. Darren said: “We have callers asking how many they can have, to which we reply, how many do you need? We then pull out all the stops to get them delivered.”
The country may be in crisis, the lasting impact of which will be felt for many generations to come, but the sense of community being seen across the globe is reassuring in its very existence. As long as the UK has a need for PPE equipment, this small group of determined individuals will continue to do what they can to fill the void.