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University of Hull face shield campaign raises £80,000 as demand for product grows


More than £80,000 has been raised by a University of Hull appeal to fund additional materials to meet high demand for the production of face shields for the NHS and other healthcare organisations in the region.

Over 1,000 donations from businesses, graduates, staff, students and friends of the University have now been made.

The University of Hull has received a very generous donation of £50,000 from a trust fund established by AB Graphic International Ltd, a Bridlington company – which will directly fund 25,000 face shields that will be donated free to NHS and healthcare workers.

More than 90 organisations including NHS, residential care homes and GP surgeries have made contact since the project was launched, requesting a total of 21,500 face shields.

Approximately 14,000 have already been produced and donated for use in hospital, hospices, residential homes, GP surgeries and charities across Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. A further 36,000 are expected to be available to dispatch over the next two weeks.

 

 The campaign will continue to fund the increase in materials needed for the production of the face shield partnership project being led by engineers at the University of Hull.

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “We are overwhelmed with the crowdfunding response and the very generous donation from the trust fund.

“This donation has already directly led to 3,500 shields being delivered throughout Bridlington to key workers there. It will help us to continue to deliver vital equipment in our region at a time of unprecedented and critical need.

“The way in which businesses, schools, graduates and the University’s staff and students have been supporting this project has been extremely uplifting.

“The University of Hull is an anchor institution in our region; working with others to serve the needs of our communities is core to our mission.

“We are so grateful to all those helping with this project, whether that is donating to the campaign, raising awareness of the availability of this equipment, giving up time to deliver face shields to those in need, or working to produce the shields themselves. Of course, this is vital to protect the healthcare staff who are doing incredible work on the front-line.

“We are really proud to contribute in this way, and of the dedication and hard work of our team of engineers who recognised early on the opportunity to really make a difference in helping the NHS and other healthcare organisations.

“They have used their skills to create innovative new designs, engaging agile manufacturing techniques to increase production capacity.”

Coronavirus face guard production in Engineering FabLab

“This donation will help us to continue to deliver vital equipment in our region at a time of unprecedented and critical need.”

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor, the University of Hull
Coronavirus face guard production in Engineering FabLab

The trust fund, established by AB Graphic International Ltd in Bridlington, has already enabled more than 3,500 face shields to be supplied through this campaign – free of charge to hospital wards, GP surgeries, and community hubs, for charities, social care, and residential care in Bridlington.

Over the past few weeks, the team of engineers in the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering including Nathan Brown, Dr Louise France (Lecturer in Medical Engineering) and Brian Houston (Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering) have collaborated with industrial partners, Advanced Plastics, to prepare designs and processes that are suitable for high volume manufacture.

The funding has enabled the University-led collaboration to provide an immediate response to the urgent need for PPE in our region through 3D printing, while working towards a high-volume solution to contribute to the national provision. The move to injection moulding allows production of more than 9,000 face shields per day.

The support of industrial partners Advanced Plastics, WHW Plastics and Burflex Scaffolding has enabled the University to make an immediate impact by producing and delivering 14,000 face shields so far.

Nathan Brown, senior lecturer in the department of Engineering at the University of Hull and lead on this project, said: “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of everyone that has donated to this project.

“Without this funding we would not be able to support our regional NHS, healthcare workers and frontline staff. The funding has allowed us to secure the necessary materials to produce the face shields.

“Bringing these products to market in such a short time frame would normally be a challenge in its own right. When combined with rapidly evolving certification processes and a turbulent supply chain – while working under conditions imposed by COVID-19 restrictions – it has been an extremely demanding project.

“We hope these products will provide additional safeguards accessible by people in all walks of life to remain safe as we come out of lockdown.”

 

“Without this funding we would not be able to support our regional NHS, healthcare workers and frontline staff.”

Nathan Brown, senior lecturer, University of Hull 

The crowdfunding campaign has been co-ordinated by the Development and Alumni Relations Office of the University of Hull.

Support from alumni, staff, students and friends of the University has been crucial to secure the supply of materials that has made the production of these face shields possible. To support this campaign, please visit our fundraising page.

Partners in this project include Advanced Plastics, WHW Plastics and the University’s Aura Innovation Centre, Hull University Business School, as well as school and colleges.

Rob Anderson, Managing Director of Advanced Plastics Limited, said: “We have been proud to work with the University of Hull during the rapid six-day development stage of the face shield visor.

“We have now quickly progressed into serial production and are starting to see real volume coming through – making a significant contribution to the battle against the COVID-19 virus in record time.

“This experience has brought a focus onto this market sector and we hope that future collaborations with the University will lead to development of significant additional products being manufactured in the UK.”

Dr Fiona Walkley, a marketing lecturer at Hull University Business School, is leveraging support for the project at national and regional level.

Dr Walkley said: “Hull University Business School has been liaising with local NHS, social care organisations and charities to get the face shields the University of Hull has donated into the hands of the frontline workers where they are needed.

“So, continuing this momentum, we are now working with sixth formers in local schools and colleges to reach the frontline carers in as many communities as possible in our region.”

Students at 20 schools from Grimsby to Whitby are helping to distribute 20,000 face shields to frontline workers in their communities.

The students have been asked to identify local organisations with frontline staff who need face shields and are using online tools to meet and work as a team to collate the information and find an adult volunteer to support distribution.

The University's team wanted to ensure this protection was reaching communities in our region. By extending the collaboration out to work closely in partnership with the schools, this gives the sixth form students the chance to lead on the project and enjoy the sense of giving back to their community.

Coronavirus face guard production in Engineering FabLabCoronavirus face guard production in Engineering FabLabCoronavirus face guard production in Engineering FabLab

Professor Susan Lea said: “The generosity of our community in supporting this initiative has also been overwhelming but, in truth, it has been no surprise to me that our staff, students, graduates, friends and regional partners would pledge their support and back this crucial initiative.

“This is part of the character of our University and region. Therefore, since the onset of the pandemic, our community has come together to support our students and each other, and we are doing all that we can to support the NHS at this critical time – using our research, expertise and resources in a diverse range of ways to help with the nation’s effort to fight COVID-19.”

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