VARA collaborating on ‘Hero’ Face Shields for Covid 19 Frontline Healthcare Workers.
VARA, has been coordinating a response from a collective of companies throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland to help Heroic Key Workers in this time of COVID-19 crisis.
Together with Adam Murphy, Co-Founder of Newtownards based baby product company Shnuggle and his team, Kieran Fegan set about engaging with companies to ask for their help in producing Emergency Face Shields for the HSE, NHS and other Key Workers across the island of Ireland.
A number of companies that specialise in the precision engineering sector came forward to offer to manufacture the vital medical equipment in the fight against the COVID-19 virus and together this group – known as “Hero Shield” – have worked hard to design, test and produce emergency two-piece face shields in record turnaround time.
From an initial idea on Friday 20th March, the collective produced its first batch from injection mould tools by Friday 3rd April. Just 2 weeks from, idea to reality! These tools are capable of producing the expected hundreds of thousands of face shields needed for front-line medical staff throughout Ireland
“Despite official information, we know that key workers all over Ireland are short of essential PPE equipment” says Adam. “We saw an opportunity to use our skills to create a low-cost, fast manufacture face shield right here in Ireland, which would be distributed free of charge or at-cost wherever they are needed and Hero Shields was born. We will sell some inventory at a small profit to private companies who have key workers at risk, which will raise funds to make even more Hero Shields.”
This belief has been backed up by the overwhelming response from Healthcare workers throughout Ireland, as the website, http://www.heroshield.net, had over 2,400 orders of 10 packs of Free HeroShields – that’s 24,000 face shields requested in under 5 days!
Metal toolmaker Crossen Engineering at Crossnacreevy and Lisburn-based Ad-Vance Engineering produced two injection mould tools in record time. These will be used by Crossen Engineering and Plastics 2000 to produce the mouldings for the quick-assembly face mask.
Glen Dimplex, the world’s largest manufacturer of electrical heating appliances and producer of domestic appliances, cooling, ventilation, and renewable energy solutions heard about the project and immediately wanted to get involved. They re-opened one of their moulding facilities and sponsored the creation of another manufacturing cell to contribute to the urgent need for this type of Personal Protection Equipment.
“It’s remarkable how quickly this has all come together. Our emergency workers are keeping us alive right now, but they can only do that if they stay healthy. They need proper protective equipment. Face masks are essential, but for maximum protection, they should be used with a full face visor, and right now there are not enough of them. That means workers are getting sick – and sick workers cannot save lives and it puts their families at risk.” stated Kieran.
The group are also making their design available to companies worldwide on a “open source” basis so that the project can be re-created wherever it’s needed.
Hero Shield is a not-for-profit entity, but needs to raise funds to help keep the project going during COVID-19. Adam and Kieran have set up crowd-funding campaigns with a target of £50,000 to cover some of the costs.
The team particularly welcomes corporate sponsorship, and has already received a generous donations from many of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs and family business owners.
The project can be supported by donating:-
https://www.gofundme.com/f/manufacturing-emergency-face-shields to support fund raising efforts in the Republic of Ireland
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/facevisors to support fund raising efforts in Northern Ireland.
Because of this immense generosity, we can make a Hero Shield for just £0.50.
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org