Published: 12:00, 08 April 2020
| Updated: 14:04, 14 April 2020
A secondary school has repurposed the machines used to teach students so it can make protective visors for NHS staff.
St Joseph’s in Salisbury has vowed to make 2,000 of the full-face masks for healthcare workers, using equipment normally used to teach students design and technology.
A GoFundMe to support the project raised over £4,000 in less than a day.
Deputy headteacher, Kevin McGuinness told the PA news agency: “We want the children to be involved in the process, so what we are doing is getting those that are still coming into school researching and deciding where they should go, helping and organising those local contacts.”
The school has already made 400 of the masks and plans to drop off a batch of visors at a community hospital.
Masks are already being used by local pharmacies, while Poole Hospital has asked the school to make 1,000 mask-comforters for its staff.
Mr McGuinness said: “The local community has just jumped on it in terms of support.
“I had one student that had been saving his dog-walking money for a year, got a hundred pounds and he donated it all within the first hour.”
Staff and students at the secondary school are now looking to see what other projects they can take on, with plans to make scrubs, scrub bags and face masks using the school sewing machines also in the works.
Mr McGuinness added: “It’s not a great situation, but if we can help our kids come out of it with a sense of community and feeling that they are contributing, and are not just sat back and letting it happen, it’s going to put them in a better position for bouncing back when we do get back.”
Headteacher Rachel Ridley said: “While the manufacture is taking place at the Deputy Heads house, due to social distancing, our pupils attending right through the Easter holiday are focused on sharing the community spirit throughout our amazing NHS.
“They are researching and contacting, supported by key-worker teachers, those NHS facilities that need this equipment now.
“The money our amazing community has raised, combined with the talents of our staff and the dedication of our pupils, lets us pay back in some small way the sacrifices our front line NHS staff are making every single day.”