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Cambridge creatives make face masks for the community

While the current pandemic is a challenge to everyone it is also an opportunity to channel our skills to help our communities. Jane Horwood, owner of Catfish Web Design and the creative talent behind Trash Chic is currently making fabric face masks.

“Over the past few weeks, my husband Robert has been growing increasingly concerned that many people in the UK don’t seem to think wearing a mask is important or helpful. There does seem to be conflicting opinions about this but, after a lot of research, our feelings were that if a mask adds even a small percentage of protection surely its worth wearing.

It’s not a perfect solution of course but the message a mask puts out is ‘I protect you … you protect me,” says Jane from her home on the outskirts of Cambridge.

Kath (left) and Katie join forces to MAKE for the Community (33425356)
Kath (left) and Katie join forces to MAKE for the Community (33425356)

“I found a pattern, made a couple of samples and posted them up on Facebook along with the instructions. The response was fantastic with people either producing their own or asking if they could buy one from me. Then a few days ago I got a couple of ‘larger’ orders of 20 for a care home and a doctor (although these are not frontline NHS masks). I now have a couple of friends helping me.”

Jane’s colourful masks (pictured) are made from patterned cotton fabric with a pocket to insert a paper towel for extra protection. At the moment she is recycling offcuts from other projects, so continuing to embrace the upcycling ethos of Trash Chic. The masks cost £4 each to cover materials and if there is any money outstanding it will be given to the NHS.

“We appreciate that some people are really struggling and won’t be able to afford the £4 and we are very happy to provide them with a mask for free – while stocks last. We know that wearing a mask does not protect people fully against Covid-19 and that we should all still only be going out when absolutely essential and observing the social distancing rules, but we feel it’s a positive action. The NHS is under a huge amount of pressure and we all need to do what we can to help them.”

See more @trashchiccambridge on Facebook and contact Jane at info@catfishwebdesign.com

Jane Horwood's fabric face masks (33287347)
Jane Horwood's fabric face masks (33287347)

Kath Goodwin of Cambridge fashion school MAKE has closed the school during lockdown but after she put a post on the MAKE Facebook page showing how to make fabric face masks she was overwhelmed by the positive response. The post listed the components needed and a video with instructions and resulted in makers stepping up to create the masks for key workers in supermarkets, care homes, pharmacies and delivery drivers (not frontline staff). Katie Benson, owner of The Cambridge Fabric Company (pictured here with Kath) is donating fabric and elastic for free; a parcel of fabric and elastic will cost £4 to cover postage and makes nine masks.

“I am so grateful to Katie for donating the fabric as she has also had to close the shop during these difficult times but is still operating online. Once people have made a good amount of masks they can offer them to their GP surgery, local care homes, schools, and post office. Sadly, these masks aren’t high enough grade for frontline doctors and nurses but it’s a start for our key workers and I’m very proud of everyone in MAKE for the Community.”

If you would like more information contact Kath on info@makecambridge.co.uk

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