Local hospice charity receives PPE donations from local schools

Havens Hospices is praising the local school community for donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to its essential workers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Four local schools have donated a range of items to the Care Teams at Fair Havens in Prittlewell and Little Havens in Thundersley to help them carry out their roles in caring for those with complex or incurable conditions safely.

The King John School in Benfleet has been playing its part in keeping the community safe during these difficult times and donated a number of face visors to local hospice Little Havens as well as local hospitals, care homes and police.

Gary Lister, Assistant Head Teacher at the school said, “The students of key workers at The King John School have been making face visors, attempting to keep our community safe during these very difficult times. Our students have made over 150 face visors and we are so proud of them and our staff who have volunteered to make the visors, distributing them where needed. We intend to continue to make more visors in the foreseeable future whilst we are able to access resources.”

The charity was also very lucky to receive a number of face visors from the Deanes School in Thundersley. Mr Russell McWilliams, the school’s Design Technology Teacher along with the school’s technician Mr Steve Saunders set up a JustGiving fundraiser in order to fund the visors for various healthcare providers all over Essex.

Russell said, “We have raised over £1500 so far and have ordered materials that will make over 2000 visors with still enough money to make up to 6000 visors. We have had requests from 16 different health care providers all over Essex and we are doing our best to make 150 visors per day. We are currently working 6 days per week and this would never have happened if it wasn’t for the generosity of the community in and around Thundersley.

“For as long as there is a need and enough materials and funding, we will continue to work for the care providers and the community as much as we can. We owe everything to East Essex Hackspace for the design and the community for their donations. Without them we would not be able to help.”

A teacher at Belfairs Academy and her A-Level Textile students have also been putting their skills to good use by making scrub bags, ear relievers and headbands for frontline staff. They kindly made a donation to Havens Hospices. Sonya O’Neill, Textiles Teacher at Belfairs Academy said, “I decided to put my skills to good use and began making scrub bags, ear relievers and headbands for the respiratory staff and community nurses at Southend Hospital.

“My wonderful A-Level Textiles students were very keen to get involved too and support however they could! When we saw Havens Hospices on Facebook, I messaged them immediately to see if we could extend our support to their teams. I was able to drop round resources of fabrics, drawstring, and buttons from the academy to our girls, as well as the students using their own fabrics at home.

“I am so proud of their commitment to help and show our academy values in our community. We are still sewing as many as we can to continue to show our appreciation and support for the charity’s incredible staff!”

Thorpe Hall School in Southend has also been playing its part in supporting local frontline staff. Richard Turner, Deputy Head of Thorpe Hall’s Upper School and Jeremy Sandford, Head of Design and Technology decided to put the school’s well-equipped DT studio to good use and make protective visors with 3D printing and laser cutting machines.

Richard Turner said, “We have the technology and resources available to us and we wanted to do something practical to help those amazing people providing essential care and working on the frontline during this crisis. Many parents and local businesses have helped with donations and materials too, and it’s been a great collaborative effort”.

Ellie Miller, Director of Care at Havens Hospices said, “On behalf of everyone at Havens Hospices we cannot thank everyone enough for their donations during this time. It is amazing to see the community coming together during a time when everyone is facing challenges of their own. These supplies are essential to the care we provide at our In-Patient Units and through our care in the community and help us continue providing safe and high quality care to our patients as well as protecting our frontline staff.

“We have been extremely lucky to not only receive PPE donations from schools but also from many generous local businesses, so a huge thank you to them also. Together, we’re truly ‘Making every day count’ for our patients and families.”

Havens Hospices’ free care can only continue thanks to donations made by kind supporters. With all public fundraising events postponed or cancelled, the charity is relying on gifts – whatever the amount – to keep caring. Visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/donate or the charity’s social media channels @HavensHospices for ideas on how to support the charity.

Fair Havens and Little Havens remain open, having adapted how they operate in response to the pandemic. Fair Havens has made all 16 beds within its hospice available – despite only opening six weeks ago – to help alleviate pressure within the local NHS. Little Havens is caring for children with complex medical or social needs being discharged from hospital, and providing end of life care. Both of these measures have been made possible thanks to partnerships with CCG’s across Essex.

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Care Team with donated PPE from Thorpe Hall School