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Appeal for help to make face masks amid massive demand

PUBLISHED: 15:13 02 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:51 04 May 2020

Masks created by Emily Lightfoot which are made from recycled fabrics. Picture: Emily Lightfoot

Masks created by Emily Lightfoot which are made from recycled fabrics. Picture: Emily Lightfoot

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A team of volunteers are appealing for more people to help “fulfil orders” for face masks after struggling to keep up with demand.

Emily Lightfoot, Downham Market councillor, has been making masks and scrub bags for Covid-19 mutual aid volunteers and members of the community. Picture: Emily LightfootEmily Lightfoot, Downham Market councillor, has been making masks and scrub bags for Covid-19 mutual aid volunteers and members of the community. Picture: Emily Lightfoot

Downham Market Town Council and volunteers in the area have been making masks for key workers and people in the local community amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Emily Lightfoot, town councillor, initially started producing them for volunteers at the Covid-19 Downham Market Mutual Aid group following a shortage of protective equipment, but has since extended it to members of the public.

A small team in the local community has united to help “anyone who needs them”, but more volunteers are wanted to help with sewing and co-ordinating the group.

Ms Lightfoot said: “Me and my wee team of volunteer stitchers are struggling to fulfil orders.

“With other governments across Europe announcing that the public should wear face coverings, I fear we are going to get more and more requests, especially as they can’t be bought elsewhere.

“Thankfully, with the support and back up from Downham Market Town Council, we are able to continue offering these for free for residents of Downham and the surrounding villages.”

The group has produced around 400 masks since the start of lockdown and is offering a delivery service to the local area.

The councillor added: “We still need volunteers who have a sewing machine and basic skills necessary to produce what is a very easy face mask.

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“We can provide the pattern, fabric and elastic through kind donations from our community.”

Elaine Oliver, town clerk, said: “We’re really impressed with the efforts so far, we have a little team of volunteers working really hard and members of the council have been out delivering them, while practicing social distancing.

“Any donations of fabric and elastic would be really appreciated.”

The council is also looking for a team of volunteers to help the Scrub For Norfolk campaign.

Mrs Oliver said: “We’re looking for people to cut out and sew up patterns, we’ll supply the material.”

If you want to order a mask contact masksdmtc@gmail.com with your name, address and mask requirements.

Pallavi Devulapalli, a GP in the town, joined calls last week for the public to wear face masks.

The doctor recommends the public wear home made masks rather than surgical ones.

She said: “Templates are readily available online at www.Masks4All.co and cost next to nothing to make. They can be washed when we get home, and used again.

“Face coverings are known to reduce viral load from a cough by 31 times, and it’s great that Scotland has tentatively moved forward in this direction.

“Saying that masks will deter people from other effective measures to stop the spread of disease is like saying wearing seat belts makes people drive more recklessly.”


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