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Hackney Home Designers Making NHS visors

U-Build, a Hackney-based branch of architecture firm Studio Bark, has turned its manufacturing expertise into producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS workers on the frontline, in partnership with the Helpful Engineering UK volunteer group.

The company usually designs flat-pack homes, and has been busy with laser cutters in cooperative workshop Building Bloqs, who along with other companies have created 10,000 visors, reports Hackney Gazette.

Nick Newman, director of U-Build, said “All we really wanted to do was help in some way. We heard about Helpful Engineering making visors and thought it would be really good.”

He added: “You’ve got to look at the bigger picture. It’s easy to get caught in the pleasure trap, the money-making system – whatever you call it – but it’s just trying to reflect on what is important.

“What has happened [in lockdown] is people looked around them and saw people are dying and wanted to help. It is as simple as that.”

The firms collaborating with Helpful Engineering have manufactured 18,000 visors during the project’s first five weeks, which have been distributed to medical professionals on the COVID-19 frontline in 24 hospitals, 41 care homes, 63 COVID-19 clinics and GP surgeries.

The project has over 200 volunteers, including the Met Police, who have been taking care of distribution. Helpful Engineering was founded at the end of March by Katie Meech, Glyn Goodwin, Poppy Becke and Fergal McEntee.

Katie said: “We all feel indebted to London’s frontline workers so wanted to find a practical way we could help them.”

Fergal added: “We are all in this together and by working together we can help protect our frontline workers and the most vulnerable citizens.”

U-Build was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs in 2019 and started operating as a non-profit organisation in January this year.

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