When we first found out that our local health and teams were experiencing shortages, we very quickly started to bring together makers, technologists, technical experts to look at open source designs and what we could do locally to support them. All the volunteers had a reason to take part. We had either already worked with health and care teams, knew someone who was affected by COVID-19, or knew people who were going to work to support care in our community.
We started co-designing the face shields with local clinical teams to make sure it will truly meet their needs. We then looked at the requirements for making, assembling, and packaging to make sure that we kept everyone safe in the process and provided the kit in the right way.
The first volunteer team came together to finalise the right designs, discuss the best options with a number of Universities and organisations. There were quite a few already working in this area and we sought advice and guidance from them. These included national and local contacts. To name a few, we were engaging with University of Bath, University of Nottingham, Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, University of Exeter, University of Liverpool and University of Plymouth. We also liaised with 3DCrowdUK, followed the work of other volunteer teams such as the Royal Mint and worked hard to get the designs/making right. We very quickly engaged with local manufacturers and suppliers to bring together the partnership that has formed today.
What you see today is a four week effort to bring people together from the local community to make a difference at this unusual time. Meet some of our team members with another 100 or so volunteers in the background to scale up assembly as needed.