What is it?
An Island-wide project lead by our Shop Operations Manager, Kate, with a team of 50+ volunteers who have a range of sewing experience, making reusable, washable fabric masks to a simple pattern, which help protect against the transmission of the Covid 19 virus.
It has been an absolute joy and privilege bringing these volunteers together and seeing them support one another, provide encouragement, give advice and tips and get a great sense of wellbeing and purposeful achievement from using their skills for their Community.
Why did we set this up?
Health Connections mission is to connect everyone to the support that they need, enabling them to lead happier, healthier lives.
As soon as we went into Lockdown 2 and saw our political and public health leaders wearing masks it was obvious that the wearing of masks was going to be significant in a way that it wasn’t during Lockdown 1. This was confirmed by the subsequent media releases strongly advising that everyone over the age of 3 should wear a mask if they are able to whenever they are out of their home.
We felt that it was incredibly important that our Community could access reusable masks as easily as possible.
How did it get started?
We appealed to the Community via our social media channels, radio and the Guernsey Press for volunteers to make masks at home and for anyone wishing to register an interest in receiving masks to get in touch.
The response has been overwhelming from those wanting to join in with the making and those receiving the masks, who have expressed gratitude and pleasure to get masks that can make them feel even a little more positive about the daily challenges we are experiencing.
Who makes our masks and how are they doing it?
Our team of mask makers is now 50 strong and led by Kate. In the first
Kate manages the Health Connections shops operations and has worked with 3rd Sector and Not-for-Profit partners on several previous projects. She has been very moved to hear how much value the volunteers get from knowing that they are making a tangible difference by using their skills.
For this project supplies of donated fabric and elastic are packed into mask making kits for each sewing volunteer to make up, including a link to an easy-to-follow tutorial. Volunteers collect new supplies as they need from a central hub and the finished masks are then sorted into packs of 3 – one on, one in the wash, one in waiting – with care instructions and a note from Health Connections.
How can you get our masks?
The masks can be bought from outside our shop Preloved & Reloved Living, Smith St or from outside our office at the Ron Short Centre at Beau Sejour. They can also be delivered to the public, other charities and those representing vulnerable groups by request for those unable to collect. All of this is organised and delivered in compliance with States of Guernsey Public Health guidelines. We welcome large orders! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about these or home delivery.
Masks are also available at The Venture Garage. St Peters, Clermont West Interiors and a number of hedge veg stalls…. see our social media pages for all the details. Let us know if you would like to stock these on your hedge veg stall as well!
Cost to the community
We suggest a donation of £10 for a pack of 3 but this is discretionary as we do not want anyone to be excluded for any reason. Donations can be left at the office or shop or made online by following the Donate link on this website.
We have partnered with local businesses for fabric, elastic and packing supplies and their generosity has been extraordinary. Our gratitude goes to Clermont West Interiors, Zee Lanoe, Creasey’s, Martel Maides Auctions, St Peter’s Post Office and Guernsey Round Table for all their vital support.
What happens after Lockdown?
We would love to get some of these masks back at the end of lockdown, perhaps with a photo or a few words attached about how Lockdown 2 made you feel. Any memorable experiences – hopefully positive but sadly perhaps not – and what regaining your freedom means to you.
Masks can be brought into our shop Preloved & Reloved Living, Smith St, when lockdown is lifted.
We will be making the returned masks into a banner which will be displayed with the words they came with.