Meet the teachers using their skills to help protect our NHS workers from coronavirus

Teachers at Dene Academy in Peterlee have been using their skills to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers, which currently is in short supply.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 4:32 pm

Rochelle Charlton-Lainé, Natalie Coyne and Amelia Arrowsmith all work in the school’s design technology department, and have been using the equipment and spare materials there to make face shields to protect NHS staff and other key workers.

The face shields have been delivered to hospitals including Sunderland Royal, South Tyneside and North Tyneside, as well as to Sunderland and Ryhope community nurses.

So far they have made 310 face shields in a mini-factory they set up in the school while it is closed. But they aren’t finished yet.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Volunteer and engineer Sean Landless and DT teacher Rochelle Charlton-Lainé.

Such is the quality of the work they have produced, there is a big demand for more and other volunteers have helped - always working within the Government’s coronavirus guidelines.

Rochelle said: “It took us a while to make them. We set up a social-distanced production line and made them with polypropylene. We can’t have too many in the area, so four is a good number.

Read More

Read More
Here's where coronavirus originated and when it started

“We cut up all the art folders of our old students, so we’re recycling too. We laser cut them, then assembled and packaged them.

The production line. From left, DT teachers Natalie Coyne, Amelia Arrowsmith and Rochelle Charlton-Lainé.

“We didn’t know if the hospitals would accept them, but they’re something rather than nothing. We’re going to make as many as we can.

“Amelia’s mam works at North Tyneside Hospital. My mother-in-law is in South Tyneside Hospital and my cousin is a community nurse in Sunderland and Seaham.

“They handed them out to nurses as otherwise they’d have nothing.

“My landlady is a nurse in a GP’s office and she took some too. People have gone wild for them.

Some of the finished face shields made by DT teachers at Dene Academy in Peterlee.

“Some have also gone to prison officers and food delivery workers. They might be delivering to elderly people and could be asymptomatic and not know they’ve got it.

“So it protects them and the elderly people they’re delivering to.”

The three teachers are part of a nationwide Facebook group, the Design and Technology Teachers Forum, which is on a drive to make PPE during the Covid-19 crisis.

The shields are reusable, and the hospitals are sanitising them after each use.

Some of the finished face shields, waiting to be distributed to NHS and other frontline workers.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you.

Some of the finished face shields, waiting to be distributed to NHS and other frontline workers.