Today, up to 7000 approved ‘FabShields’ have been donated and distributed free of charge across the Western Health and Social Care Trust and local care sector.
‘Fablabs’ – digital fabrication laboratories – were set up to inspire people and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new products and prototypes by giving them access to a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology on a local basis. A global network of over 1000 Fablabs now exist, connecting people, communities and businesses across the world and enabling them to collaborate, problem solve and brainstorm ideas.
It was this network and its global creative potential that supported us in our efforts to do something practical and constructive around COVID-19. As the North West found itself at the wrong end of supply chains it was clear from medical and frontline workers that there was a real local need for PPE and Fablab was able to respond, with designer Paul McCay helping to develop a faceshield that could be mass produced quickly and cheaply.
As part of a community wide effort, we were supported by the Your Derry PPE fund and the local business and community sectors to source materials and mobilise a small army of volunteers to step up and make a real difference on the ground here. Project Director John Peto commented, ‘This was the kind of rapid response that local facilities like Fablabs are uniquely placed to deliver. When the creative sector partners with the health, business and community sectors great things can happen very quickly. We are proud to have played a small part in our community’s response to COVID-19 and stand ready to do so again if needed in the future.'
As the project winds down, for the meantime at least, Nerve Centre would like to extend our sincere thanks to:
Nelipak Healthcare Packaging in Campsie for their incredible donation of PETG plastic which has enabled us to create around 3500 shields
The fantastic fundraising from Your Derry / Pure Derry which has enabled the production of a further 3500 shields
Amari Plastics for help in sourcing materials
The team of volunteers giving their time to assemble the shields from Nerve Centre, The Playtrail, Fab:Social Shantallow and Aerona Software
All of those across our community including Paul Stafford, Lukas Barber, Neil Black, Sean Carlin, and many others for their help, support and encouragement.