A big thank you for Wigan volunteers for providing life-saving PPE

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The generous Wiganers who have responded to the call to make vital safety equipment for key workers have been thanked by the authorities.

Schools, businesses, charities and not-for-profit groups are among those who have spent the last few weeks churning out personal protective equipment (PPE) for those on the front line against the coronavirus.

The borough’s hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes and hospice are all on the list of places which have benefitted from the masks and visors created by members of the public.

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And those who have been getting creative to tackle Covid-19 are being told their efforts are much appreciated.

Making PPE at St John Fisher Catholic High SchoolMaking PPE at St John Fisher Catholic High School
Making PPE at St John Fisher Catholic High School | ugc

Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said GP practices have been working directly with local schools to ensure they have all the equipment they need.

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and CCG chair, said: “A huge thank you to all the volunteers out there who are helping GP practices, the hospital and other health and social care services.

“Whether you are making PPE, buying shopping for isolated neighbours, delivering medication or taking on one of the other roles, we massively appreciate your support and efforts and you are a vital part of our fight against Covid-19.”

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A batch of 50 protective face masks has been delivered to Heathside Residential Care Home, run by Wigan Council, this week from Lowton High School.

Meanwhile, both Wigan and Leigh College and Winstanley College have donated equipment to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust in recent days.

Wigan Council is continuing to offer direct support to all care homes and care providers across the borough, including providing personal protective equipment (PPE) sourced by the local authority with a commitment of more to come.

Schools have played a huge role in the bid to create PPE, with secondaries Westleigh, St Edmund Arrowsmith, Standish, St Peter’s, The Deanery and St John Fisher all turning out visors for health employees.

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Some of the visors have ended up being used on intensive care units across the North West while Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH) has also gratefully received face shields from the schools.

The Beech Hill high school is also running a Just Giving page to raise £1,000 to buy materials to make even more PPE for the NHS.

Wigan Steam has transformed its makerspace in The Galleries Shopping Centre into a socially-distanced assembly line to turn out hundreds of visors.

The organisation is also being assisted by Springfield-based Etch and Cut Laser run by Mark Mennell.

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Hilltop Products in Golborne has also been dishing out masks to care homes, centres for vulnerable adults and other similar settings after it worked with clients receiving high-tech cutting machines to get in a donation of 1,000 face shields.As well as the schools’ engineering efforts the hospice has also had visors made by a number of public-spirited individuals.

It is possible for anyone with a laser cutter and 3D printer to create the plastic visors, with instructions and templates now available for anyone wanting to join in the making marathon.

The Hindley-based charity has also received home-made uniform and clothing bags and hair bands.

An army of seamstresses has also been putting its skills to use in the bid to keep health professionals safe from Covid-19 by making scrubs.

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Wigan Scrub Hub has been creating the vital fabric garments for GP surgeries and hospitals in a team effort involving hours of stitching led by former Standish resident Charlotte Mack.

Silas Nicholls, chief executive of WWL, said: “We are hugely grateful to the hundreds of individuals, organisations, businesses and community groups who have offered their support in a variety of ways over the last few weeks. It is truly appreciated, boosts morale and makes a real difference to our staff.”

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