How Northumberland school teachers are helping plug PPE shortages by turning their hand to equipment manufacturing

Teachers at Northumberland schools are among those to have come forward to support the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 17th April 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 10:56 pm

Working to approved designs, technology departments in schools across the North East have set up their own PPE (personal protective equipment) production lines, assembling reusable protective visors for front-line healthcare staff.

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Teacher Jason Woodbridge at Bedlington Academy.

One multi-academy trust, the North East Learning Trust, which includes Ashington Academy and Bedlington Academy, has seen all of its technology departments working together to manufacture more than 300 of the visors developed by online tech company, Kitronik.

After a fresh delivery of polypropylene last week, staff said they would be able to produce and deliver a further 3,200 visors across the region during the Easter break.

The trust’s CEO, Lesley Powell, said: “NHS staff are doing an incredible job and we are happy to be playing our part in supporting them in their relentless effort to save lives.

“I am very proud of our hands-on technology teachers who have put their know-how and school resources to good use to provide these much-needed protective items.”

Professor Chris Gray, clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “We really can’t thank people enough for their support over the past few weeks. We have been blown away by their kindness during these unprecedented and challenging times.

“To see so many teachers, who have their own pressures to deal with, turning their hands to this is fantastic.”

He added: “While we are receiving supplies all the time from the NHS supply chain, we still welcome bulk donations or opportunities to purchase equipment from businesses, whether they are local or further afield.

“We have a central contact point to make it easier for people to get in touch and ensure speedy transportation of supplies to our front-line teams.”

Businesses or schools who are interested in helping can email [email protected] or visit www.nhsjoinourjourney.org.uk/key-documents-and-briefings/ppe/

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