A volunteer team committed to the fight against Covid-19 have made over 10,000 face shields for front-line workers across the UK after their initial post for requests went viral.

The team based out of the Design and Technology department at Ellesmere College, initially self-funded and donated 200 shields for local care homes and front line staff, but were kept busy as requests for more shields kept coming in.

In a matter of weeks the number of face shields made by the team continued to rise and has now hit the 10,000 mark with the much-needed protective equipment being shipped out to front-line workers all over the country.

The face shields, composed of an acetate visor and headbands made from polypropylene, were produced using the school’s laser cutter and 3D printers. They have been delivered to hospitals, care homes, GP practices and First Line Responders.

A Just Giving page, set up after the first 200 shields were made, was opened to raise £550 to make a further 1,000 visors but that target was quickly reached within 24 hours. Crowdfunding and other donations now totals almost £10,000.

A donation from the Old Ellesmerian Club of £2,500 was used to buy raw materials and equipment to help the team continue their work and allowed for the purchase of a larger 3D printer which produces four sets of headbands continuously in stacks 26 high.

Jonathan Haycock, Teacher of Design & Technology at Ellesmere College, who spearheaded the volunteer effort said: “It’s been an incredible journey and we could never have imagined at the outset that we were going to end up making 10,000 face shields.

“I must pay tribute to the volunteer team who have worked so hard in fulfilling orders which have seen us supply front-line staff all over the country. I must also thank all those people who have donated to the cause which has enabled us to continue our work.

“Other donations have included £500 from Old Ellesmerian Masonic Lodge, which was match-funded by Masonic Province of Shropshire, and St Luke’s House at the College who donated a term’s worth of funding from their Pink Friday charity days.

Old Ellesmerian, Rob Oakes, owner of DKL Medcraft Bryden rubber manufacturing in Wem, also stepped in to help increase the manufacturing capability and greatly reduced the manufacturing workload.

“These along with all the other generous donations allowed us to continue making the face shields. It really is much appreciated.

“The volunteer team has been delighted to help in the fight against Covid-19 in helping to keep our front-line staff safe through what we all hope has been the worst of this terrible pandemic.”