Volunteers linked with Wrexham schools congratulated for producing PPE for health workers in Covid-19 crisis

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Volunteers linked with Wrexham schools congratulated for producing PPE for health workers in Covid-19 crisis

Category : Events

Following on from an announcement from Betsi Cadwaldr UHB that certified PPE is available in numbers for their staff to use.  Volunteers who linked with local schools, including Ysgol Clywedog, are being celebrated for their role at the forefront of the local PPE effort; producing protective face-visors for staff in hospital and care settings in Wrexham, using 3D printers and laser-bed cutting technology.

Dr Graham Sparey-Taylor and Cllr Phil Wynn established a 3D Printing Hwb at Ysgol Clywedog in early April and saw the project grow rapidly.   Matt Vickery, Head teacher at Ysgol Clywedog provided the school’s IT suite to use as a base and AVOW brought governance and a fundraising platform.  With an enthusiastic local response from members of the community, Hwb Wrecsam quickly expanded from a handful of volunteers to over thirty, with local organisations, small businesses, community groups and individuals donating material and machines, meaning that the Hwb was able to provide even greater numbers of protective visors for use by Health-workers, including ICU staff at the Maelor Hospital nursing COVID19 patients.

Cllr Phil Wynn whose idea it was to use Ysgol Clywedog as a base said “At the outset of the pandemic it was distressing to read that NHS staff up and down the UK were having to use bin bags for PPE, so it has been a proud moment for me to be part of the nation’s movement of schools and 3D printers (many of whom were also home-based) who rallied to the need for home produced visors in the absence of a certified supply.

We wanted to ensure we were supplying face-visors which met BCUHB’s requirements, so we are indebted to the guidance provided by M-Sparc and Awyr Las.   It was also a pleasure to work with a great group of volunteers who answered AVOW’s call for support. Without their commitment we could never have achieved our part in this national effort”.

Matt Vickery, the Head at Ysgol Clywedog, stated “I’m immensely proud of my staff Jo Brown and Nick Clarke for their commitment to producing face-visors to meet local demand, using the school’s laser-bed cutting machine. I know many of Wrexham’s Secondary school’s Design & Technology staff have been doing exactly the same so a big thank-you is owed to staff at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd , Rhosnesni High, The Maelor, Ysgol Rhiwabon High and St Joseph’s.

It just seemed the right thing to do to allow Hwb Wrecsam to be based at the school. It was nice to hear how many of the volunteers were previously educated at Ysgol Clywedog or for many Bryn Offa as it was in their day”.

This community response to the Covid-19 crisis inspired the generosity of the people of Wrexham who donated via the AVOW fundraising page, to fund the project.   As this schools-based phase of the project closes, a number of 3D-printing machines that have been bought will be donated to schools locally later in the year and a donation made to Awyr Las, the NHS charity helping people across North Wales.

John Gallanders, CEO of AVOW stated “ In all the years I have been involved in the Volunteer Sector I have never known a time when so many individuals of all ages have stepped forward to offer their time and skills to help the most vulnerable members of our society.  It has been an honour for AVOW to have supported the Hwb Wrecsam project.  The time has come for British Industry to step in and produce certified PPE for our front-line NHS and care setting staff”.

Dr Graham Sparey-Taylor, a lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, whose idea it was to create a 3D Print Hwb, with his two young sons, describes the project now as going “into a new phase” – continuing to produce PPE / protective visors at a new site in the Wrecsam area.    With the Covid-19 crisis ongoing, and workers cautiously looking to lockdown being lifted, volunteers have set up Hwb Wrecsam as a Community Interest Company and will continue to fundraise to produce as many protective visors as possible.

He added “As we move forward, our heartfelt thanks go to Matt Vickery, Head of Ysgol Clywedog who supported us and without whom, we simply could not have produced so many visors.  We sincerely thank Cllr Phil Wynn, Chair of Governors at the school and the teaching staff who allowed us to use their IT suite as our base over the past few weeks.

We’ve seen so much kindness and commitment in Wrecsam’s recent PPE effort, from dedicated teaching staff working on laser-bed printers in schools, to people producing protective visors on their 3D printers at home.   Without the support of our schools and universities and the outpouring of generosity from skilled volunteers and the Wrecsam community; we would not been able to help so many people.  As we move to our new site to continue producing PPE for frontline, key-workers and community workers, during this Covid-19 crisis, we need this support more than ever.”