Schools rally to help frontline NHS staff

STAFF and pupils at St John the Baptist School have made more than 500 face shields using 3D printers and distributed them to local hospitals and care homes.

The personal protection equipment, provided with help from other schools and students at home, have been sent to Frimley Park Hospital ICU, Burfield Clinic, Guildford and the NorthWest Surrey Out of Hours nurses, St Helier’s Hospital Agincare, Woking Homes, St George’s Care Home and Woking Hospice.

North-West Surrey Out of Hours Nursing Team, which includes former SJB student Lisa Tilley

The initiative came from Catt Torlop and Cathy Cunningham, in the design technology department, who are working with other staff in school supervising the students whose parents are key workers.

Miss Torlop adapted a design made freely available by Swedish company 3DVerkstan, specifically created for quick replication during the COVID-19 crisis.

The team produces around 50 face shields a day, helped by Year 8 student, Tom Evenden – who is making head bands on his home printer and delivering them to the school – and Richard Challoner School, New Malden. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with production costs.

Nurses at Frimley Park Hospital with the Gordon’s face shields

“So many people in our community came forwards desperate to access them – hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries, pharmacies the list goes on,” said Anna Dwyer, the deputy head teacher who is co-ordinating the deliveries. Her husband, Matthew Webber, is on the leadership team at Richard Challoner and that school’s deputy head, Neil Henderson, is making head bands.

“We are humbled to be able to help support the frontline NHS staff and care workers looking after the most vulnerable in society and we are committed to making them for as long as there is demand,” Miss Dwyer said.

She said there was a big demand from care homes, which seemed to lack PPE equipment and whose residents are vulnerable to serious consequences if they catch COVID-19.

James Granville Hamshar, SJB’s headteacher, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by people’s generosity and support for this project – this really is a whole community effort that we are proud to be part of.

“Our partner schools – St Peter’s School, Guildford and Salesian School, Chertsey – have also set up production so we are certain that between us we will be able to meet the needs of the local area.”

Gordon’s School in West End has also been helping out with design technology teacher Tom Webb making protective visors in the school’s laboratory. Mr Webb, a House Parent, made 100 protective visors, laser cutting the headbands and hand cutting the clear visor. Mr Webb and his team of teachers and other House Parents were hoping to make a further 1,500.

Catt Torlop, SJB design technology teacher, with the first face shield produced at the school

“I saw that people were doing it in DT forums and thought I’d give it a go” said Mr Webb. “Once I had them made, I posted on the local Facebook site and a midwife from Frimley got in touch to say they desperately needed some, as did one of our own GP parents.”

The visors have also been sent to supermarkets and GP and vet surgeries.

The school’s medical centre nurses have volunteered to work in local hospitals, protective goggles and gloves from Gordon’s have been put to use by the NHS and community volunteers and kitchen staff have gathered food for the homeless.

Andrew Moss, the headmaster, said: “We are looking at every resource available in the school to help others during these difficult times and will continue to do so throughout.

“I am delighted that the whole school community is lending a hand and resources.”

Requests for face shields and offers of help from anyone with access to a 3D printer can be made by emailing Anna Dwyer on a.dwyer@sjb.surrey.sch.uk. Gordon’s School can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter (@GordonsSch) or Instagram (@gordonsschofficial).

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editorial Team