COVID-19: Bedford schools, colleges and universities bolster PPE supplies

Photo: Bedford Girls School

Several educational institutions in Bedford Borough have helped contribute thousands of PPE supplies to local healthcare services and charities, with teachers at Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) manufacturing over a thousand visors.

At BGS, four teachers have turned their design and technology (DT) expertise to manufacturing visors for local hospital, GP and other health services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Invited to manufacture visors and initially provided with materials by Councillor Doug McMurdo, they have now manufactured 1,567 visors and counting.

Mrs Redfern (Head of DT), Mrs Wilkins (DT teacher), Mrs Woods (DT teacher) and Mr Castro (Head of Swimming) plan to continue producing the visors while the school is shut down as long as they have materials.

On 24 April, Bedford Girls’ School appealed to the #BGSCommunity to get in touch if they were able to supply either of the two materials they require, A4 acetate sheets and 3mm polypropylene.

Bedford Girls School are not the only educational establishment in Bedford Borough to have contributed to local PPE supplies.

Bedford College Group, of which Bedford College and Bedford Sixth Form are a part, has donated 1,200 aprons and 7,400 pairs of gloves to Autism Bedfordshire and FirstCare of St John’s Street, Bedford.

This equipment was collected by Ellie Flynn from Estates, Engineering, Hair & Beauty, Science and Access to Higher Education departments.

This is in addition to thousands of PPE items donated earlier to Kettering General Hospital from its Tresham College Campuses in Northamptonshire.

In a news release by the College Group, Ian Pryce CBE, CEO and Principal of The Bedford College Group, said, “These donations are just part of the many contributions made by our staff and students to the wider community in the South East region during this crisis.”

The University of Bedfordshire’s Head of Print and Document Services, Dave Plummer, has helped supply materials to volunteers at Luton’s Chiltern Academy to produce more than 400 visors.

In a university press release highlighting the initiative, it is stated that ‘Chiltern Learning Trust is continuing to appeal for more materials to help production, specifically clear A3 PVC or Polyester covers.’

The Chiltern Academy project is producing approximately 1,300 visors a day and asks people who may be able to supply them with the specified materials to contact Daniel Pallett, Head of Specialism in Engineering at Chiltern Learning Trust, via his Twitter account, @DT_SLE.

Concerns over PPE supplies for health and social care workers and other key workers have been a major theme of scrutiny of the government during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.

BBC Panorama on Monday 27 March reported that the UK government’s claim of more than one billion items of PPE being moved across the country since the pandemic included the counting sometimes of individual gloves as separate PPE items, as opposed to each pair of gloves.

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