A staff member at GMIT has been putting her creative skills and resources to invaluable use since April, making hundreds of reusable face coverings for nursing homes.
Kelly Roberts, a Textiles Technician from GMIT’s School of Design and Creative Arts has been churning out an average of 75 non-medical face coverings a week from home during lockdown.
“I really wanted to use my skills and resources from GMIT to help fight this Coronavirus pandemic but it had to be something I could do at home and around my children’s daily schedule and GMIT work,” Kelly said.
Fortunately, shortly after the campus shut down she and others were allowed back for a quick visit to gather supplies.
Kelly used this opportunity to collect a sewing machine and threads from the Textiles department to set up a workstation at home, where she has been working away since.
“I am relying solely on donations of fabric from friends and colleagues. Mostly I use high quality cotton duvet covers and sheets as they are easy to fashion into non-medical masks, and everyone needs an excuse to clean out their hot press”.
“If anyone would like to donate good quality fabric, please feel free to contact me on email@example.com”
All this while she has continued to provide remote support for some 40 students in the BA in Design (Fashion & Textiles Design) as well as homeschooling her two young children.
Kelly started by providing the face coverings to nursing homes in the region here, but word spread on social media, and she now finds herself sending them as far as Donegal.
More recently she has been stocking up masks for staff who opt to use them as GMIT prepares its Return to Campus protocol.
“If staff avail of the offer, it will keep me busy for many more weeks and I would hope to have a reusable mask available for those who wish to use them come September, all going well”.
GMIT is currently putting plans in place to ensure HSE safeties are implemented through social distancing, handwashing and hygiene measures.
Face coverings are an optional extra personal measure to assist in preparation for winter coughs and colds to prevent the spread of infection.
GMIT Health & Safety Officer Doreen Geoghegan says: “Hand washing with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds is the primary action we can take in protecting ourselves and others.
“In tandem with this, social distancing is effective at limiting the spread. Although it is optional to wear face coverings, it is an additional measure to prevent disease spread indoors or when in crowded places.”
Celine Curtin, Head of the GMIT Centre for Creative Arts and Media, says they have a “wealth” of expertise among their staff and students, and they’re delighted to use it to help the community in these times.