A collaborative approach - People power for PPE

Community, academia and businesses are coming together in North Wales in order to create and distribute free visor shields for medical staff and carers.

 
People Power PPE

A small collective decided to embark on a project to design, print, assemble and provide PPE Visors to the NHS, following approaches from senior medical staff. A design was created, approved by front line DRs and distributed for production within a day. Those with 3D printers got wind, and people started printing.

There were over 30 3D printers in full production. All sectors got involved, including University, FE, Volunteers, Schools and the Private Sector. It has now been announced that the first delivery will be made to Ysbyty Gwynedd this Friday!

Partners have included North Wales Tech, Bangor University, Group Llandrillo Menai, Schools in Gwynedd and Anglesey, private sector companies such as Creo Medical, Faun Trackway, r3 Design, Menter Mon and many, many more.

“We have an incredible community of technology enthusiasts and makers in North Wales and the response to this issue is testament to that” said Carwyn Edwards, one of the founding members of North Wales Tech, an organisation representing technology enthusiasts.

Bangor University said “The University is delighted to be at the heart of this effort to pull together a community of producers across the whole of north Wales. The staff of the University and our Science Park have shown incredible commitment and energy as have the North Wales Tech community, Further and Higher Education institutions, and numerous other companies and individuals across the region who have all worked tirelessly to support our local NHS.” 

In one week design, manufacture, and logistics for delivery came together for a cross-sector, public, private and voluntary project. This is real testament to North Wales, to innovation, and to what can be done when people work together.

“I’ve been amazed to witness the power of the people in reacting to this issue over the last five days” said Pryderi ap Rhisiart, Menai Science Park’s Managing Director. “It shows that we can work together effectively, between community members, academia, public and private sector.” 

A GoFundMe page was set up on Tuesday morning, because the plastic that the community members are using is expensive, and we would like to continue offering the visors for free. By 5pm, the target had been met. The community involvement has come not just from those creating the masks, but those who are able to assist financially as well. The response has been overwhelming. 

“We are very grateful for the ingenuity and enthusiasm of organisations and individuals across North Wales who have come together at a time when ingenuity and collaborative working is especially important. We have been working with individuals coordinating this innovative work and will continue to do so. Clearly we have to ensure that locally manufactured products meet the required protective standards and we will help to ensure that is done as quickly as possible” said Chris Stockport, Executive Director of Primary and Community Care at BCU Health Board. 
 

Dr Simon Burnell, Consultant Anaesthetist at Ysbyty Gwynedd said “My colleagues and I have been watching the pandemic with growing concern. Our hospital has been lucky to have had some time to prepare, however the apparent shortage of PPE in mainland Europe and now in England was alarming. I count us fortunate that our close knit local community has responded overwhelmingly by doing everything in their power to help us. Enthusiasts & local people have been giving their expertise, equipment & time whilst also donating money and raw materials to get this project off the ground. Companies and educational organisations of all types have been opening up their labs and helping in any way the can. Thank you all for helping to protect our NHS.”

The initial request was to assist Ysbyty Gwynedd, but it was apparent that many more would require assistance, and so a call went out and surgeries and care homes responded requesting PPE. A list has now been put together and work is ongoing to continue supplying those in the local area who require PPE. Should anyone want to be on the waiting list, they should e-mail M-SParc stating who they represent, the delivery address, and the quantity they require.