A small volunteer group, Keep Them Safe – Solent & South Hampshire, have produced and distributed over 14,000 face shields to help protect key workers across the region.

Using innovative 3D printers and laser cutters and a growing network of volunteers, the group are helping fill the gap in the shortfall of available protective equipment.

The group was established with one main purpose – ‘help us help them’.  Starting with just three volunteers with no funding and two 3D printers, the team aimed to help fill a gap in the supply and demand of PPE equipment locally. Joining up with a national group of volunteers across the UK, Keep Them Safe Solent & South Hampshire are making face shields and distributing them to anyone continuing to work throughout the pandemic to help keep them safe.

One of the founding volunteers Mike Buchan said: “We have been astounded by the generosity of both our local community and hard-working, selfless volunteers and will continue to work around the clock to provide much needed protective equipment for those who need it most!”

The team have rapidly grown over the past four weeks and now have a volunteer network of printers, laser cutters, punchers, packers, coordinators and assemblers working every day to get the shields to anyone in need – free of charge. The group have continued to grow, spreading the message across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help reach any local workers who may be unable to access PPE from elsewhere.

The group of volunteers started with no funding, however due to demand, have set up a Facebook and Crowdfunder page raising over £8,500 to directly purchase the materials needed to continue to provide the equipment to anyone in need. Local businesses and manufacturers have also been providing materials for free or at a very low cost to help the team fulfill the demand.

The 3D print and laser cut team have so far made over 14,000 face shields for doctor’s surgeries, community workers, pharmacists, care homes, food preparation & handling teams, security staff, Hampshire Police and many more who are working tirelessly to keep people safe.

Co-founder of The Makers Guild Portsmouth Ming Wu, who has developed the 3D printed design of the shields added: “ Our remixed design allows for faster production, reducing the print time of each face shield head-mount by half, This means we are able to get the critical extra line of protection to those who need it most, as quickly as possible..”

You can find out more about how to donate, volunteering opportunities and how to order the protective face shields on the Keep Them Safe South Hampshire website: http://www.keepthemsafe-southhampshire.co.uk/