Falmouth University staff supporting the NHS

1 May 2020
Staff at Falmouth making PPE

Falmouth University’s Fashion and Textiles Institute is supporting our NHS workers during the COVID-19 pandemic by producing items of PPE.

The team is collaborating with Cornwall Scrubs to produce NHS-standard scrubs for frontline staff in hospitals in the county.

Head of Fashion & Textiles, John Boddy said, “We are really thrilled to be supporting Cornwall Scrubs, it feels good to be doing something positive with the professional-standard facilities that we have here at Falmouth. During these challenging times, while we can’t use them for teaching, they otherwise would have been sat dormant.”

“We are following stringent guidelines to make sure we’re doing the job safely and there has been a long Risk Assessment process. We can only have six colleagues in the space at once, so everyone is working really hard to ensure we produce as many sets as possible. It’s a privilege to be doing anything we can to help those that are doing amazing work in the healthcare frontlines.”

Cornwall Scrubs is being led by Annie Lucas, owner of local pop-up sewing school Start to Stitch. She said of Falmouth’s involvement, “With a team of 350 voluntary workers spread from Launceston to Penzance, trying to turn around high volumes during a time of global crisis with a national shortage of materials, it has been imperative to find ways to streamline and speed-up the pipeline to get the goods to those that desperately need them.

“The support of Falmouth University, with access to incredibly skilled staff and state of the art facilities, is of huge value to this process, and testament to the University's on-going commitment to support its local community. We are so grateful.”

As well as working on the production of scrubs, John is also liaising with the South West Ambulance Service and a number of other organisations, including dentists and care homes, to assist with the production of single use gowns. It’s a complex process, as regulator-approved fluid repellent fabric is in short supply. Therefore, the FTI team are using their expertise to explore the possibility of evolving current single use gowns into multi-use/washable gowns that would still offer full protection to the wearer.

In other parts of the University, colleagues are also contributing. Olly Hatfield, Senior Technician for 3D Printing and Scanning, has been using three 3D Ultimaker printers to produce face shield components for distribution to the NHS and essential services.