A member of staff has been using her time in lockdown to do an amazing thing for NHS services - transforming her spare bedroom into a production line to print 3D face shields for frontline staff.
Lauren Emery, a Departmental Administrator in Mathematics and Statistics and Senior Advisor for County College, decided to make the most of her time stuck indoors. Together with her partner, Stephen McEvoy who completed his MSc at Lancaster last year, they purchased a 3D printer.
Lauren explains, "We became aware of a scheme where we could use our new printer to create PLA plastic shield holders. We got the design from a forum and set about creating them. Initially we were going to pass these to a collection point and send in the post - but they were waiting two weeks."
Aware of the urgent need for PPE in the local area, Lauren decided to share a Facebook post and 24 hours later, she had created a dedicated Facebook page and had taken orders for over 350 shields.
Lauren and Stephen were buying all the materials themselves at a rough cost of £1 per shield however, since the Facebook post went live, the public have been contributing to the cause - with £1700 donated by 2 April.
Lauren continued, "We initially had to reject two orders of 1500 and 600 each as we are only able to make 20 a day, but we now have two more printers on order to triple our capacity. Thanks to the public's help, we are back in contact with those we rejected to see how we can help.
"We are over the moon with the response and are so happy to be supplying GP surgeries, hospitals, and care homes in the Lancashire and Cumbria area, including 60 that will be delivered to the North West Ambulance Service. We have also started having enquiries from further afield - some from as far as Jersey, Brighton and Strathclyde."
Lauren's efforts form part of Lancaster University's broader effort to support the needs of the community, NHS and other key workers working to fight Covid-19. Members of staff, students and academics have been answering the nation's call for help by volunteering, providing expertise, donating equipment and offering accommodation to those who need it.
Professor Dame Sue Black, Pro Vice Chancellor for Engagement, said: "I am simply lost for words at what Lauren and Stephen are doing. It is outstanding and represents the true Lancaster spirit of ingenuity, compassion and pragmatism. We have made a donation to them to help them continue their fantastic work. Well done both!"
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