Coronavirus: Salisbury teacher making visors 'can't keep up'

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image copyrightKevin McGuinness
image captionKevin McGuinness has been helped by his 11-year-old son Euan in their "kitchen workshop"

A teacher who started making protective visors in his kitchen for key workers is now helping to make 2,000 a day and "can't keep up with orders coming in".

Kevin McGuinness, deputy head of St Joseph's Catholic School in Salisbury, said when the lockdown started he thought "what can we do to help?".

He took a school laser-cutting machine home and the school has since raised almost £19,000 towards materials.

Other organisations joined in and there are now 11 cutting locations.

Mr McGuinness said those now involved ranged from an industrial laser machine firm, two other local schools, hobbyists and two trophy engraving companies.

"The idea came out of a late night conversation with a friend, thinking about how we can use our time and skills," he said.

image copyrightEzec Patient Transport
image captionAmbulance drivers from Salisbury are using the visors made by the St Joseph's Catholic School and supplied for free

Initially trained as an industrial designer, he realised it was possible to make PPE for health workers.

He said: "I ordered enough plastic on my credit card to make 2,000 and thought I would fund raise later once I got things going to try and recoup it."

image copyrightKevin McGuinness
image captionKevin McGuinness bought £800 worth of plastic on his credit card and told the school they could fundraise to recoup the money

He said he initially thought 2,000 "would be amazing and make a bit of a difference" but was taken aback when the orders started coming in.

"We are now making 2,000 per day and cannot keep up with the orders coming in.

"Around 10,000 either completed or on order to go out this week. We took delivery yesterday of enough material to make 45,000 from the donations so far received," he said.

The school, which is gathering donations through a GoFundMe page, has been supplying hospitals, care homes, pharmacies, paramedics, funeral directors and shop workers "from Liverpool to Bournemouth and from Cardiff to Kent".

image copyrightHelen Millar Facey
image captionSt Joseph's teacher Helen Millar Facey is part of the team expanding to make scrubs, masks and headwear

Mr McGuinness said they now had a team of volunteer drivers dropping and collecting plastic and components, and were "branching out into manufacturing scrubs and garments".

He said: "I think there are two levels in which this is important, firstly the plain and simple need to provide protection that is needed for those people protecting us.

"Secondly, people want to help, want to feel in a community that cares. Projects like ours and the many other amazing groups, give a focus to the energy and goodwill being shown in abundance by everyone we meet."

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