With PPE shortages still a major issue, we are pleased to announce our new mask making project. So far, the community has produced more than 700 masks which are then collected, sanitised, packed, and checked before being sent out to those in need.
OMA has received a lot of requests for PPE, and so far our priority has been sending masks to NHS workers, care home staff, teachers, front line refugee workers and also to vulnerable/shielding households.
The masks we have produced are machine washable and safely reusable. We have also made and distributed 200 ear strap extenders to help mask recipients work long hours in PPE more comfortably.
The project was started by Nazan, an NHS worker with direct experience of the worrying lack of safety provisions for at risk employees, and whose colleagues have been deeply grateful for the support. The masks are in very high demand at the John Radcliffe as, although workers are now supplied with factory-made masks when working in wards, they don’t all have masks for going to and from work or for work outside the wards.
It has been amazing to see the positive impact on the local community; the teachers we have delivered to have given special thanks for the masks, with one saying “We can’t thank you enough, it looks like a lot of sewing was involved and they are certainly preferable to the paper versions as they are soft on the face.”
Another teacher let us know of the great reassurance the masks provided for both the teachers and students’ families, saying that the safer environment has “brought smiles to many faces.”
OMA has also been involved in ensuring the safety of the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations, with volunteers present at the protests to hand out masks to those involved. We are proud to say the project has also extended beyond Oxford with masks now being sent out to the refugee camps in Calais. So far 100 masks have been sent to both Care4Calais and the Refugee Community Kitchen to ensure the safety of refugees and those helping on the front line of the crisis.
We want to thank all the volunteers working to make and distribute these masks.This crisis has made it clear that the best way to keep yourself safe is to help keep everyone else safe too. We think this project is an example of how the community can come together to do just that.