One of the most exciting undertakings of the lockdown was the making of face masks by the community. The Barhay family, who live in Fairfield, recognised that there was a severe lack of PPE, not only for those working on the front line in the NHS but also care staff, pharmacies, and many others. Suki and Balraj and their children Amrita and Khush decided they could make a difference by making face shields.

An appeal on Facebook led to generous donations from many other residents of the laminate sheets, sponges and j-cloths needed to make the masks. Fairfield Parish Council also supported the enterprise, helping to pay for materials. It didn’t take long before the project grabbed the community’s imagination and offers of further help came in. Balraj produced a short video explaining how to make the shields and a team of about 30 willing volunteers got to work laminating, making up and delivering the masks.

Hospitals, care homes, community nurses, delivery drivers and shop keepers have all benefited – most are local, but requests have come from London, Weymouth, Northampton, Lincoln, and even Scotland and Wales! The face-shield tally reached nearly 5000.

It is impossible to say how many lives have been saved by this ‘homecrafting’ movement, but the many repeat requests and heartfelt thanks from recipients prove that the Barhays’ efforts have been appreciated. And they deserve thanks not only from those receiving the shields, but also from those sharing in the work – who were grateful for the opportunity to contribute, albeit in a small way, to efforts being made to combat the virus!