LE Graphics, an Enniskillen based company that manufactures and supplies signage and branded clothing, is making face shields to help NHS staff who are currently fighting the coronavirus pandemic at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH).

Owner of LE Graphics David Donaldson said: “Last week I was wracking my brain to figure out how I could help our NHS in their effort against Covid-19. In the absence of having any useful PPE at work to give away, I delivered 300 reusable coffee cups to the SWAH and Enniskillen Ambulance Station just as a token to try and give the front line workers a little ‘pick me up’.”

He added: “This was very well received but not really lifesaving equipment so I got to thinking how we could use our machinery to perhaps make something useful.”

David spent some time researching face shields and discovered a design that his company could make using their laser cutting equipment.

Initially David sourced enough materials to make about 600 face shields. “I have purchased this myself for donation to SWAH and have spent all weekend prototyping and perfecting assembly,” said David, who noted that the face shield design has now been approved by Professor Ronan O’Hare, Assistant Medical Director at the South West Acute Hospital: “His response to us was, ‘These are great… make as many as you can!’”

David explained that although he has been making some emergency Covid-19 related signage for local government and private sector customers, LE Graphics has essentially been closed for several weeks and his staff are all at home. However, now that he has had approval to make the face shields, David noted that LE Graphics staff have kindly volunteered to work in shifts to start producing them properly. He said: “In order to respect and comply with social distancing we will operate with two volunteers at a time, one on the ground floor laser cutting the components and one on the first floor assembling the face shields.”

David managed to secure more PETG plastic since the weekend and production of the face shields is now in full flow.

“That will enable us to make a total of over 1,000 face shields in the next two weeks or so. We may also be able to get some heavier material that can be used but we will have to make a different design of shield with it, we will move to that when current supply is exhausted,” he explained.

David and the team at LE Graphics completed the first batch of 80 shields on Monday, April 6 and these were delivered to SWAH on the morning of Tuesday, April 7 along with 150 litres of 75 per cent alcohol hand sanitizer and some medical gloves he had purchased.

On April 10, David and his team including Neil Reid, Jason McVitty, William Armstrong and David Morrison manufactured, packaged and delivered just over two hundred face shields to the South West Acute Hospital, bringing the total produced that week to just over six hundred. David explained that their ability to produce such a large output was assisted by the loan of a laser cutter from St. Michael’s College. “St Michael’s College in Enniskillen kindly loaned us the laser cutter from their technology centre and we had this up and running by this morning, supplementing the output from our own laser machine,” David said.

To be sure he could secure all available material to create the face shields, David started a GoFundMe fundraiser. Commenting that the response to the fundraiser has been “staggering”, David added: “I have also had numerous offers of help with manufacturing and delivery tasks.”

“The amazing news is that the fundraising has left us with additional money to be able to source other vital PPE and equipment for our local NHS heroes,” David told this newspaper.

Thanks to a donation from the Old Portora Union, David was able to purchase another batch of hand sanitizer.

“We are extremely grateful to the Old Portora Union who today contributed the amazing sum of £1,200 which allowed us to purchase 150 litres of the hand sanitiser for distribution to front line health care heroes in Fermanagh,” shared David.



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