St Pius X College, Magherafelt

Bernie Gray from St Pius X College, Magherafelt tell how the whole school got involved in making visors.

St Pius X College, Magherafelt is one of a number of Post Primary schools in the Mid Ulster area, that has been involved in manufacturing of face visors. At the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a huge shortage of PPE, in all sectors of the Health Service. Local schools were contacted to see if they could help and in a very short space of time, Technology Departments were sharing drawings, to be used in manufacturing of face visors. Plastic, acetate sheets, elastic and foam were all needed to help make the visors.

A request went out through Facebook for acetate sheets, as they were in short supply and very quickly, sheets were donated from Primary schools in Derry, Tyrone and the Rural Community Network. The laser cutter was extremely busy in St Pius and it was manned by very able and willing teachers from the Technology Department. The design of the visors changed a few times as collaboration with other schools increased and ideas were shared to try and speed up the manufacturing and assembly of the visors. Once the laser cutter had cut out a large number of component parts, teachers from other departments in the school were asked to volunteer to help with assembly.

Most of the visors were sent to Ballymena for distribution throughout the North but we also donated visors to local care homes and doctors’ surgeries in Antrim, Tyrone, Armagh and Derry, who were struggling to acquire PPE. All the recipients were extremely grateful, as the visors enabled them to perform their vital work while keeping themselves, their patients and their own families safe. Manufacturing is still continuing at present and it is envisaged that this will continue, while the need for these vital pieces of PPE exist. We are asking local people and businesses to consider "sponsoring" a box of visors to an organisation of their choice to allow us to continue without incurring any additional costs.

Thank you to all those who donated materials, helped with manufacturing, assembly and distribution and if anyone wishes to sponsor a box please contact the school for further details on Tel: 028 7963 2186.