The local people answering the call to make vital PPE supplies

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Sue Simmerling is making uniforms for medical and care staff for free

GROUPS ranging from theatre costume makers to an army of 3D printer owners have thrown themselves into answering the appeal for protective equipment in the battle against the coronavirus.

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Among them is Carry On Costumes in Christchurch, which supplies West End shows. It has been inactive since theatres were closed but now owner Sue Simmerling has reopened her workshop to create uniforms for medical and care staff for free.

Sue told the A&T: “There is a desperate need for scrubs. We have been inundated by requests from hospitals including Guy’s, Uxbridge and Papworth.

“It is really unfair to ask them to go to work without the equipment they need to keep them safe. It’s heartbreaking.”

Sue answered a call for help from fellow costume designer Dulcie Scott who has launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the material needed to make the uniforms. To donate, visit bit.ly/2JPQXis.

She said: “There is simply not enough for them available from the NHS. I am hoping that owners of small factories in Dorset and Hampshire will join in and help these people who are doing such an amazing job at this time.”

As reported in the A&T, local care homes were joined by BCP Council in appealing for personal protective equipment (PPE), as the government faces pressure over national shortages.

At the New Milton IncuHive business hub – based at the A&T premises off Compton Road – 3D printing equipment has been used to create parts for medical visors.

It has joined a nationwide scheme called 3DCrowd UK in which more than 5,500 volunteer 3D printer owners are helping to create hundreds of thousands of masks.

New Milton IncuHive general manager Will Blackmore told the A&T: “Obviously, the NHS is very short of PPE and so we’re trying to do our bit to help the doctors and nurses who are struggling to treat people without the full equipment.”

More volunteers are being sought to help meet increasing demand. The public is also invited to donate funds towards material and delivery costs at www.gofundme.com/f/3dcrowd-emergency-3d-printed-face-shields.

Amateur crafters have also joined the effort, coordinated by a new Facebook group, New Forest Sewing for the NHS, launched by Gavin Jones last Friday. He has been inundated with offers to help, he said.

He told the A&T: “We are making drawstring bags for our NHS staff so they can put their uniforms in them safely at work and then when they get home, put them straight into their washing machines, keeping their families safe.”

They have made about 1,500 bags and the same number of scrubs, which will be sanitised and donated to hospitals in Lymington, Southampton and Bournemouth. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/newforestsewingforthenhs.

Schools have also got in on the act, including Highcliffe and Arnewood which donated to the NHS and care workers all the PPE from their science and technology departments.

New Forest Signs and M J Cases, in Hordle, teamed up to create full-face visors. Orders for free delivery can be placed by emailing info@newforestsigns.co.uk or calling 01425 612763.

Sanders Sails in Lymington has been making over 200 protective scrub bags for nurses at Lymington New Forest Hospital.

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