Students create and donate protective equipment for NHS staff

Protective equipment for NHS staff
Publication date:

Teams across Ravensbourne have united to create thousands of items of personal protection equipment and have donated them to hospitals around the UK.

The Ravensbourne building officially closed in line with government advice in March 2020. As the doors closed, our staff laid the plans to support and empower NHS hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients safely.

Our Technical Tutors and Prototyping team sought to utilise their collective expertise to support NHS staff. Technical Tutor, Jonathan Michie and his partner, designed ear savers that ease the pain of wearing tight masks for extended periods. Prototyping expert Nikos Nikiforos returned to the Ravensbourne building to see how our facilities could support the creation of the ear savers. Using three laser cutter machines at the same time, Nikos was able to create a staggering 700 ear savers in one sitting. Ear savers and head guards were then distributed to London hospitals including Croydon, St. George’s and Lewisham and Greenwich and Darent Valley hospital in Kent.

It has been widely reported that NHS staff have experienced shortages in personal protection equipment, so the institution sought to alleviate the pressure on resources. With fabric generously donated by luxury supplier Joel & Son Fabric and Classic Textiles, a range of Ravensbourne staff members created scrubs, scrub bags and headbands to gift to hospitals. As well as further donations made to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, our scrubs have also been donated to the Wandsworth Scrub hub. Staff have carefully coordinated these drop offs in line with social distancing.

Our staff have also attended St George’s Hospitals’ sewing room to help mend scrubs and ensure they are up to standard. Chloe Culpin, who is a former Ravensbourne Fashion student and now works in our Creative Lab, has also collated donated fabric to make scrubs. Chloe has uploaded the pattern for her scrubs, to empower others to create their own scrubs too.

To demonstrate how much we appreciate and admire our NHS workers, we have also encouraged our students to take part. We have included a thank you postcard with all our NHS donations and have asked our students to design a postcard that illustrates our gratitude.

Emily Swain, who has been working in the Intensive Care unit at Darent Valley Hospital said, ‘Thank you so much for this very kind donation of 500 surgical mask ear savers made by Ravensbourne University. Staff at Darent Valley are working long and tiring shifts and are having to wear surgical face masks whilst treating patients throughout the hospital. These can make the backs of our ears sore when we have to put these on repeatedly throughout the day. So by having these ear savers available it will help to make our shifts more comfortable – which is something that is greatly appreciated! Once again thank you!’

Sarah Thornton-Green, a nurse at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital added, ‘What your team has done for us is amazing. I think I speak for my colleagues when I say that we are all overwhelmed by everyone's kindness, support and generosity. It shows nothing but solidarity and compassion during a difficult time for all. People are giving up their time and money to help make our working environment a safer place to be, providing us with additional uniform and PPE. It's hard to express in words how we feel, but we will be eternally grateful. It goes to show that everyone has an equally important role in overcoming this current situation.’

We’re incredibly proud of the way our community has risen to the challenge with very little resources and have now provided PPE to at least 5 major NHS hospitals. We will continue to do everything we can to support our NHS and use our creativity to uplift our community.

PPE for the NHS