Shiplake College have produced 600 face shields in just over a week for local doctors surgeries, care homes and Royal Berkshire Hospital using equipment in their Design & Technology department.
Overseen by DT staff Mr Mike Whitfield, Mr Tom Bayley and Mrs Sally Satch, whose daughter-in-law is a doctor in the acute care unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, there has been a rota of volunteers staff and their families assembling the face shields whilst adhering to the social distancing government guidelines. The idea for the project was Lower School Head, Tom Crisford whose wife is a Senior Sister in the ICU at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. A generous donation of £500 kick started the project and a target has been to to now raise £1,000 so that they can place further orders for materials to cover the cost of producing more face shields. You can donate here.
In addition to 150 face shields given to RBH, four boxes of disposable aprons and five boxes of disposable gloves from the school’s medical and cleaning supplies were donated to the ICU at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Rachel Crisford sent a photo of the items being used saying “On behalf of all who work in Intensive Care at The Royal Berkshire Hospital we wanted to thank Shiplake College for the donations of PPE. All the staff are very grateful and it has made a real difference in keeping us safe at this difficult time.”
Mrs Katherine Green, the College’s Director of External Relations, said: “We realised we had some spare capacity and wanted to do everything we could to help when we heard reports of a shortage of PPE for frontline workers. “Having colleagues with loved ones working directly with people affected by this crisis was also a big factor. They were telling us that any contribution, however small it may be, would be a huge help.”
As well as the face shields production, a number of staff and pupils have signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responder programme and have been delivering prescriptions and ‘reporting for duty’ accordingly. Others have been active members of locally-organised support groups, packing up food-boxes, collecting prescriptions or shopping for vulnerable or elderly people who are required to stay at home and shield themselves.
The College has registered with the NHS and the government-organised scheme, stating that it would be willing to open boarding houses for keyworkers or others on the frontline helping with the response. Should the request come in we will be ready to welcome users immediately.
On Friday 17 April, the School Chaplain, Revd Chris Briggs visited the Churches in Reading Drop-In Centre (CIRDIC). He delivered a haul of food items, including eggs, bacon, beans and bread rolls, donated mainly by the staff who live on site. These items were gratefully received and will be used for preparing lunches for the homeless and other vulnerable people.
Shiplake College is still making face shields, so if you are a front-line service and would like a supply of shields delivered to you (normally in boxes of 50), please contact Mrs Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Herald received an email on Friday from Sue Ryder to say that they are still in critical need of PPE with stocks set to imminently run out. We passed this on to Kat Green, who replied immediately, “Perfect – thank you so much, I will get in touch with them straight away.”
Staff at Henley Manor Care Home in Mill Lane receiving their Shiplake College face shields