Beginning with a handful of 3D printers before the lockdown, the Keep Them Safe – South Hampshire group on Facebook, which is overseen by the Makers Guild CIC, has now grown to 25 volunteers with more than 60 printers, each creating 10 clear plastic visors every day.
Almost a dozen of additional volunteers are supporting the assembly and delivery of the visors, helping to to get the visors to care homes, homeless shelters, and several NHS trusts from Gosport to Basingstoke.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Titchfield resident Paul Lawson said: ‘It was absolutely shocking to hear the number of requests that we got – there was enormous demand.
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‘But I don’t blame the government for the situation, and I think that it's great the community has risen to the challenge.
‘To produce the amount of visors needed was always going to be difficult.’
Christina Ngorima, the manager of St Benedict’s Ferndale House, in 38 Grove Road, Gosport, said her delivery of 25 ‘high quality’ see-through visors made it easier for her staff support people, as opposed to using face-obscuring masks.
She said: ‘One of my team was trying to support a gentleman, and when she took off her mask and put on a visor he said, ‘oh it’s you!’ and he recognised her and his mood changed.
‘The donation was overwhelmingly heartwarming.
‘We want to say a huge thank you.’
For Caroline Mann, a team leader of a homeless shelter in Gosport, the visors gave her staff ‘a boost in confidence.’
She said: ‘I and my team from Two Saints, 101 Gosport Road hostel, would like to say a big thank you. (The group) are doing a fantastic job in these challenging times.’
The 3D printer group has raised more than £7,000 in donations to cover the costs of materials, with prices for PLA – the plastic material used to make the visors’ headbands – rising since the lockdown began.
Paul said: ‘PLA costs have gone up – it used to cost £21 for a roll, but now costs £28.
‘We want to say thank you for everyone who has donated.’
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