Carers at a children’s hospice in Windsor are among frontline workers to praise an Exmouth Community College tutor who produced hundreds of PPE visors to protect medics and care staff amid the coronavirus crisis.
Kris Greaves, engineering and design tutor at Exmouth Community College (ECC), has spent lockdown making hundreds of plastic face shields from his school design workshop, to protect NHS workers, carers and key workers from COVID-19.
Mr Greaves said he was proud to have played his part keeping medics and carers safe during the pandemic.
The tutor has been coming into work at weekends, making more than 600 plastic face shields for health centres and care homes in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton.
He recently received a message of thanks from the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, more than 150-miles away in Maidenhead, because his visors have allowed carers to continue visiting terminally-ill and sick youngsters and their families.
A message sent by hospice frontline carers, showing two key workers wearing the visors made by Mr Greaves, said ‘thank you so much for the visors. They enabled us to visit life-limited and life-threatened children and support their families at a very difficult time.’
Mr Greaves said: “It’s just nice to have helped. It makes you think you have actually played your part.
“It was especially nice to get a message from the children’s hospice.”
He added: “It’s gone quite quiet now. The initial panic is over. We have managed to supply them to everybody that needs them to keep the staff safe.”
The tutor turned the college design and technology workshop into a PPE production line with the help and support of ECC principal, Andrew Davis and head of department, Sarah Browne, after a request for help by ‘lots and lots’ of medics and carers in Exmouth and Budleigh.
An original plan to 3-D print visors was dismissed after it was found to take too long – around six hours – and the materials needed were too brittle.
Mr Greaves researched patterns and designs online and made up some samples.
With the help of the workshop laser cutter, he set about making plastic visors, shaping around 10 every half an hour.
When the workshop extraction fan broke, scuppering production, Mr Greaves drove to Newton Abbot to pick up a new model from A1 Extraction, so the supply line could continue.
ECC principal Mr Davis said: “Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to send out another 100 masks.”
Production has slowed now demand has been met, with a total of 605 visors supplied, but more materials are available if needed once lockdown is lifted.
Mr Greaves said fabric face masks could be in the pipeline now the demand for plastic visors had ended.
Mr Greaves said: “Hopefully this shows the importance of design and technology within the broad curriculum we are able to offer at Exmouth.”
The community college said it has supplied PPE visors to care homes and medical surgeries throughout Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, including Home Instead Senior Care, Premier Community, 1st React Healthcare, Bay Court nursing home, Haldon House surgery, The Homestead residential home, Manor Lodge residential home, Amica Care Trust, Woodbury Surgery, Claremont Medical Practice and Rolle Medical Partnership.