PPE Emergency: Caterham Responds

Over the past month the shortage of PPE has been at the forefront of the news and our team have spoken to residents in the area who have provided an incredible service to help eleviate and reduce the shortage and help provide equipment where needed within the community.

Lucy Gillett is a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at East Surrey Hospital and she also has her own company called Gillett Training Services. She is a First Aid Trainer which offers training to parents, schools, businesses and a variety of training and consultancy to social care establishments within the local area. Seven weeks ago she contacted schools requesting science goggles for care providers. With the help of the schools and also Gordon Griffin (Godstone resident who produced a large amount of 3D visors in his workshop) she was able to supply over 3,000 visors and goggles to 50 care homes and various health and social care settings. The PPE she has collected has not only been delivered to local settings but also distributed to a total of sixteen hospitals across Surrey, Sussex and London.

Lucy explained the difficulties her colleagues and clients in care homes are facing. “The biggest challenge is finding a way to control the risk. Social care rely on staff who are on a fairly low wage, often juggling several jobs, sometimes going in and out of different care settings. Many homes rely heavily on agency staff, but with some homes facing positive or suspected cases of COVID-19 mixed with a limited supply of PPE, it can be a struggle to maintain a full workforce, not to mention many staff being off sick with Covid-like symptoms and others self isolating, which places a heavy burden on places with skeleton staffing”.

Residents in care homes need personal, intimate care, which means close contact and without sufficient PPE this puts the staff at an increased risk. Many have been confined to their rooms and the lack of their regular routine (especially for those with dementia) confuses them. The concept of social distancing can also be extremely difficult for both staff and residents to adhere to and this in turn can create an increased risk and exposure for both.

Lucy has had numerous donations ranging from kit bags, hand and eye creams, headbands, hand sanitisers and baked goodies all of which she has delivered to hospitals and social care settings. She also received funds from VirtualKindnessWoldingham which she put towards surgical masks and donated to St Piers – Young Epilepsy.

If you would like to follow Lucy’s PPE campaign please visit her social media handles on both Facebook and Instagram @gilletttrainingservices. Lucy has also been helping raise funds to support SASH Charity which is the hospitals’ charity where she works.

We also spoke to Caterham resident Neil Cotterill who has ben helping the community. After watching a video on YouTube Neil and his son decided to try and make a few face visors at home using acetate, elastic, foam strip and staples and after posting a few photos onto his facebook account he received a few requests from local GP surgeries requesting them.

Last month Neil contacted 60 companies asking for donations of materials and was overwhelmed with the response. Screwfix and Hobbycraft donated materials for free and along with a team of volunteers he was able to distribute 250 ‘foam-free’ visors for free to a variety of local businesses ranging from Hospitals, GPs, Prisons and Care and Children’s Homes.

Both a GoFundMe and Facebook group have been set up so that the word can be spread among the community. Friends and neighbours are now helping make visors and over 3000 have been made. Immense support has been received from the community including the local WI, The Caterham Roundtable and The Caterham Arms.
Over £4,000 has been raised so far. The team are not looking for funding at the moment but please contact them if you know of anywhere that needs a supply. https://m.facebook.com/groups/1080559255641681?view=info

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