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Norwich face mask group numbers double to support making project

PUBLISHED: 09:21 06 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:21 06 June 2020

Volunteer Rose with a mask produced by the group. Picture: Submitted by Libby Double

Volunteer Rose with a mask produced by the group. Picture: Submitted by Libby Double

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Volunteer numbers to make face covering for vulnerable people who need them has doubled following an online appeal.

Libby Double and her five children. Picture: Libby DoubleLibby Double and her five children. Picture: Libby Double

The Norwich sew group was started by Norwich designer Libby Mata Harii and her 12-year-old daughter India, who answered a plea on Facebook for 60 face masks in April, for care staff.

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After delivering the masks, Ms Mata Harii, who runs The Way of the Tea, began asking for help to help tackle shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), with 14 people coming forward to donate their time, skills and materials.

Together they have sewn around 400 face masks and 200 laundry bags which have been delivered to care home staff, key workers and vulnerable people across the county – as well as 500 ear-savers, which have been crocheted by just one group member.

To ensure they could keep up with demand, Mark Barrett from Thorpe Helping Hands appealed for further support for people to help make the masks and bags.

The masks drying on the line before being delivered. Picture: Libby DoubleThe masks drying on the line before being delivered. Picture: Libby Double

Ms Mata Harii, from Norwich said: “We’ve been inundated with generous people offering to sew and the group has doubled. We’re asking for people who need them to contact us and place an order. Though we are really desperate for delivery drivers as our drivers are at capacity at the moment.”

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As part of their plans the group is contacting schools over the weekend to see if they need masks and bags.

She also said secondary schools would be encourage to get involved to use their textile department to make items.

Ms Mata Harii said: “I’m overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support of the community, it’s heartwarming.

crocheted ear savers made by volunteers. Picture: Libby Doublecrocheted ear savers made by volunteers. Picture: Libby Double

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“We’ve donated masks, ear-savers and laundry bags to care home staff, teachers, community nurses, vulnerable members of the public and key workers. We will make masks for anyone in a vulnerable situation who needs them, as far as our resources will allow.”

The group leader said she was so grateful for the large donations of fabric, but with an increase in makers was appealing for more.

She added: “We have been inundated with generous donations of bedsheets, polyester clothing, tents, sleeping bags and elastic to help us in our mission. Donations of materials from the community have been incredible.”

If you can donate materials to the group contact Catherine on 01603 614941.


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