Kilternan Parish Becomes Fabric Hub for Masks 4 All Ireland
The Kilternan Centre is always a hive of activity. Now, in lockdown, that is no different but the activity has changed. The centre at Kilternan Parish Church has become a hub for sewing and distributing reusable cotton masks.
At the end of April, the parish was approached by Katie Holland, a parishioner and Scout leader, about hosting a ‘fabric hub’ for the distribution of PPE masks, explains the Rector of Kilternan, the Revd Rob Clements. “There has been a real need identified for PPE masks for care workers and hospital staff as there is simply not enough to fulfil the current demand. We are delighted to support this initiative,” he says.
Katie, with the support of the 10th Kilternan Scouts first pioneered this programme, which is running in conjunction with a group called Masks4AllIreland. Gary Watts, the Group leader of the Kilternan Scout Group says the project goes right to the heart of Scouting. “Helping people is something that is part of the very fabric of Scouting – it’s a key part of the Scout Promise: ‘To serve my community, to help other people’,” he comments. The scouts set up the ‘10th Kilternan Thimble Brigade’ and have been engaged in making protective, reusable cloth masks and distributing them to hospital staff and care workers since early April.
Masks4allIreland is a group of voluntary sewists making the best possible reusable cotton masks free to those who need them. The material costs are met through fundraising and donations. To date there are 550 sewists across the country and 25,000 masks have been produced.
Like the demand, the project has grown. What began in Katie’s home has grown into quite the operation. The Kilternan Centre is now filled with fabric, sorting stations, cutting stations, sewing points, and areas for packaging and distribution. They now gather fabric, prepare the fabric, distribute fabric to ‘at home’ sewers, and then finally they distribute the finished product to hospitals, nursing homes and community care teams all across the country.
While this is a hub, social distancing and stringent hygiene protocols prohibit more than three or four people in attendance at any one time, so it’s not just something you can drop by and see.
How can you get involved?
If you are a sewer, you might like to sew. They have fabric packs, and the standardized pattern. You can register on Facebook through Mask4allIreland or contact Katie Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might like to donate. The main cost is fabric. A donation of €10 will buy one metre of fabric which will enable volunteers to make 10 masks. The masks are reusable and machine washable. A GoFundMe page was set up by the Scouts which has already brought in over €4,000 towards fabric costs. You might like to donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/10th-kilternan-scouts-covid19-fabric-for-masks. Every single cent raised will be used to buy the materials – all work is completely voluntary.
You might have access to fabric. The Scouts have already managed to procure donations of fabric from businesses across the community. It you have access to fabric, please let them know. Fabric needs to be unused and 100% cotton.
“Together we can make a difference and help give our care providers the protection they need to keep themselves and, in turn, all of us safe,” Rob concludes.
Has your parish got a story to tell about people making a difference during the Covid–19 crisis? Let us know by contacting email@example.com.