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Masks4All volunteers and key workers

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

A local not for profit group have taken inspiration from the international Masks4All movement to produce free masks for local volunteers and other frontline workers in Dorchester.

Left to right – Rosie Lees (The Embroidery Barn), Emma Teasdale (Bonjour Café), Emma Scott (Dorchester Town Council).

Inspired by the international Masks4All movement

Rosie Lees commented on how he idea developed:

“We wanted to help essential workers but without putting any pressure on medical grade PPE which is rightly prioritised for NHS staff. So we started looking into the science and arguments for and against using a homemade facemasks. We quickly found that whilst cloth masks are not promoted as offering the wearer protection from Covid-19, they can help to stop the wearer from unknowingly spreading the disease. People might actually have the virus and not even know it, or maybe they have the virus but haven’t developed symptoms yet. Either way, a cloth covering over the face can reduce transmission of the virus which means we are less likely to give it to each other – this is called source control!”

Emma, Emma and Rosie decided to create packs of material with instructions on how to make masks. Following a call out to people with sewing machines, the group were overwhelmed by the response. Over 180 sewers quickly offered their time and materials to help. To date around 500 masks have been distributed, with another 600 being collected, washed and bagged up. Currently several hundred more masks are still being made.

The masks, which are given for free, have gone mainly to care home staff, teachers, outdoor workers and community volunteers.

marks given to key workers in dorchester

Masks4All in Dorchester

Having previously worked more broadly, the group are now focussing their efforts on supporting key workers in the Dorchester area. They want to hear from you if you would like to receive free masks for yourself or for your organisation. They are also working with partners such as the fantastic Scrub Hub groups. Producers of huge amounts of PPE for the NHS, local GP’s, care homes and other care settings.

M4AD hope that everyone will get on board with Government advice to start wearing homemade facemasks in crowded places. There are lots of different designs available online. Many are easy to make and don’t event require sewing – and can be made with items you already have. If you are able to sew, M4AD have provided a pattern for the masks they are producing on their Facebook page. The group welcome enquiries for people wanting to get involved – or if you want to make a financial donation!

Free advice for others

The group are also happy to advise others who want to set up sewing hubs in their local communities.

And if you are looking to purchase masks privately, or corporately for your business, Rosie has developed a mask making pattern at The Embroidery Barn – so you can contact her there directly.

Patrick Grant from The Great British Sewing Bee has launched a nationwide campaign called the Big Community Sew. This aims to get everybody on board with making facemasks. On their website they point out that there are around 6 million sewing machines in homes across the UK. If every one of those machines can be used to make just a dozen face coverings, that would be enough for every person in the UK!

Emma Scott said:

“We are so grateful to all our funders, and amazing team of sewers. It is very uplifting to see how many people there are out there who want to help. Whilst lockdown is very tentatively starting to be relaxed, we must remember that using a mask is another way of keeping each other safe. It is essential that we continue to maintain social distancing, wash our hands regularly and not become complacent. We must still self-isolate if we show symptoms of the virus”.

The message of the Mask4All movement is simple – ‘My mask protects you – your mask protects me’.

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