The demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers in contact with Covid-19 patients has seen many businesses rallying together to make PPE available locally.
That sense of comraderie is no different for Crosshaven-based UK Sailmakers Ireland, formerly McWilliam Sailmakers, who are using their resources to help make PPE for local healthcare heroes in a bid to fill the gaping hole between demand and supply of the required equipment.
The company’s usual production of sails and holdall bags ceased at the end of last month, giving owners Barry Hayes and Claire Morgan time to come up with a resourceful way to help the frontline.
They have since reopened and are now producing full protection gowns using an in-house material.
The custom-built material offers full protection and the gowns which are fit-to-size do not allow anything through from the inside out or from the outside in.
The pair are currently making 20 gowns per day with plans in place to make up to 30 per day going forward.
Speaking to The Echo, Mr Hayes said: “Myself and Claire wanted to help wherever we could. We had a product that could fit them [frontline workers] and so then we designed it as best we could to fit the purpose that it was needed for.
“After we made a couple of models it took some time to test them so when we finished the testing we knew that we were ready. We put it out there that we could make these and immediately we got people calling us for stock, mainly the nursing homes.”
UK Sailmakers is one of the world's most established groups of sail makers with nearly 50 lofts and service centres located worldwide producing well-designed, long-lasting sails.
The development of the protective gowns, first conceived by UK Sailmakers Norway, had been encouraging to date.
Now, New York, Canada and Ireland have made refinements on the design and material selection to further improve the final product.
The design of the gown has been refined to two different types which are made to order in Crosshaven for distribution.
The first batch of orders are being sent out to nursing homes this week.
The gowns can be ordered by contacting email@example.com.