Staff and pupils at Ashcroft High School have been using theirs to make vital protective headgear for those serving us all on the front line.
An initial 25 of the masks were received by the council on Monday, ready for distribution to some of the council’s frontline carers and social workers providing support to the town’s most vulnerable people.
Following an appeal to local authorities to use their facilities to make protective headgear, the Design and Technology Department at the school jumped at the chance to use their skills in this way. After online discussions with pupils, staff members Mark Austin, Dawn Habashanti, Rhani Bazih and Ann Higgins set to work and were subsequently joined by Simon Price and Suzanne Flannery from the Science Department, each strictly observing social distancing rules.
A prototype, which followed basic guidelines, was quickly produced. The visors needed to be lightweight and secure as well as comfortable, given the number of hours they would have to be worn. The simple, but elegant design means that the screen can be easily replaced when necessary. The visors themselves are made from materials such as high impact polystyrene, acetate, foam as well as more everyday items such as elastic bands and paper fasteners.
The school has already donated four large boxes of protective goggles which have been delivered to the Luton and Dunstable hospital. Once again staff returned to school and thoroughly washed the school’s safety goggles the children use when taking part in or observing experiments so they would be ready to hand over.
Julie Clarke, Head Teacher, is rightly proud, “I only had to mention the request we had received and got an immediate response. “At this time of national emergency, the school is only too pleased to help. We are all concerned for NHS staff and other frontline workers who have little or no protective equipment. The Ashcroft family is passionate about helping our local community and we all know someone who works at the L&D or is a carer. It is fantastic to think that a small gesture on our part can make a difference to people’s lives.”
With the first batch safely delivered, work has already begun again to produce another 150 masks which will be distributed as soon as they are ready.
Robin Porter, Chief Executive of Luton Council, thanked Julie and her school as the masks were delivered: “At times like this it is truly humbling to see how so many people are pulling together and doing what they can. Schools are, of course, centres for academic learning and excellence, but they are also places where qualities such as togetherness, team work, compassion, service and community are nurtured.
“We are so grateful to those from Ashcroft High School who are playing their part as we tackle this moment of crisis together and we shall ensure these masks will be distributed as quickly as possible to those who need them.”