'Thank God I have these skills': Daventry carers wearing PPE made by their manager due to shortage

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"We have got an amazing team of girls out there and I'm very, very proud of them."

Carers from an agency based in Daventry are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) made by their manager due to the worldwide shortage.

Debra Purnell from KC Carers has sewn together masks and aprons from her home using material she bought online to keep her staff protected.

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"Thank God I have these skills, I'm so grateful I can do this because if I couldn't then my girls would be out there with nothing and that's unthinkable," she said.

KC Carers carer Jade Seymour wearing one of Debra Purnell's masksKC Carers carer Jade Seymour wearing one of Debra Purnell's masks
KC Carers carer Jade Seymour wearing one of Debra Purnell's masks | other

The scheme started when Debra realised they were going to run out of PPE at the start of the coronavirus crisis so she tried to make a mask, having made her own clothes as a child.

The carers approved it so she bought some waterproof material and made enough masks for each member of staff to have two, which can be washed after each use.

It then expanded after other care agencies and care homes around the county asked for some so Debra made a guide on how to make the masks.

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Then they started to get low on aprons so she made those too using the same waterproof material she had left over.

Mother and daughter Emma and Shannon Teagles, from KC Carers, sporting Debra Purnell's masksMother and daughter Emma and Shannon Teagles, from KC Carers, sporting Debra Purnell's masks
Mother and daughter Emma and Shannon Teagles, from KC Carers, sporting Debra Purnell's masks | other

"It's not something I thought I would doing but one positive out of this is when all of this is over, we won't need to buy any more masks or aprons," she said.

"So in the long-run, when all this is over, it will save us a fortune in PPE!"

Debra has been making the PPE alongside her day job of managing a team of carers who look after people in their homes - a stressful job in normal circumstances.

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So far they have had no suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 among their staff or clients - something Debra puts down to her diligent team and supportive families.

"For me personally, it has been quite a lonely experience as I'm shielding at home due to an underlying condition I am getting up at the crack of dawn either sewing or sat at the computer," she said.

"We are often falling into the trap that because we're at home, we're not stopping and I can be at the computer until 10 or 11 o'clock at night.

"But the support for carers has been lovely as they are just as frightened of this thing as the customers are as it doesn't differ between people, it doesn't care, but it's a case of we support each other and do carry on.

"We have got an amazing team of girls out there and I'm very, very proud of them."

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