How did you manage to get organized?
The local hospital in our town asked us to assist them by cutting face masks and scrubs since we already had the structure, the people, the knowledge and the equipment.
We brought some of our staff back from vacation to adjust patterns, prototype and produce. The news that we were producing these materials went viral on social media and local companies, pharmacies and hospitals asked us to produce and develop fabric masks for their employees. However, we struggled to find appropriate and safe material to produce them.
What challenges did you face?
Our biggest challenge was to quickly familiarize our sewing suppliers with the needs of the industries that demanded our help. Since the financial aspect had become such a big concern we had to help smaller providers stay afloat with advance payments and the production of these masks.
Approximately how many products were you able to manufacture?
So far we have produced over 50, 000 masks and 2,000 scrubs for to donate to hospitals and emergency staff in the region. We are also getting close to the 80,000 mark for masks that have already been delivered and are currently in production for other entities.
How long did it take you to become operational?
I must confess that we were super-fast. We were operational in less than a day. In one afternoon, we spoke to Lectra, they helped us adjust the parameters of our equipment to the material that the hospitals supplied, and then we started producing.
Approximately how many scrubs were you able to manufacture?
So far, around 1000 sets of tops and trousers on three of our Lectra cutters. The additional 500 meters should allow us to cut another 160 sets. We are passing some of the cut work on to a local sewing group that is organizing groups of home sewers to sew the products together, all organized through a Facebook group called Sewing Urgent Supplies for Preston's NHS Heroes, Can You Help Too? , a charity organization that is trying to raise funds to purchase additional scrub material. Additionally, I’m proud to say that 10 of our own sewers have now volunteered to support the sewing effort.
If you had one piece of advice to share, what would it be?
I believe that in times like these the desire to help others is what moves us and that’s how all this started. When others found out about our initiative, they also made themselves available to help us. So, my advice is that if you can do something to help, do it. Ask for Lectra’s help if needed and act.