From cakes to face visors - thanks to everyone who has shown their support

From cakes to face visors - thanks to everyone who has shown their support

Volunteers collage. Top left is volunteer stood against one of our vehicles, top right is volunteer wearing mask and gloves preparing meals, bottom left is volunteer in drivers seat wearing face visor smiling and in bottom right are decorated cupcakes.

There is no denying that these are unprecedented times that we all find ourselves living in, and things have been tough for everyone for many different reasons.

Despite all of this, we have been humbled to know that EMAS is at the forefront of some of your volunteering efforts by lending your time, skills and resources to help us.

Whether that has been by filling our stomachs with food, taking the time to write and send in cards, helping create and supply our frontline crew with personal protective equipment (PPE), or coming out of retirement to help in our non-patient facing logistical areas, you have all boosted our morale.

Dave Brett stood against Fleet Logistics Van
Dave Brett worked for EMAS for over 40 years and has returned to deliver vital stocks of PPE to ambulance stations across Lincolnshire.

Dave Brett retired from EMAS after over 40 years of service in the Lincolnshire Division and then became a part-time driving instructor. He had to stop teaching lessons when social distancing measures came into place.

He said: “As soon as my part-time job came to an end I started getting in touch with friends who I used to work with to see if there was anything I could do to help and that is when I got the call to ask if I could help distribute PPE to stations.

“What myself and the other volunteers are doing is providing reassurance to the crews on the frontline that we will deliver what they need, so they don’t need to worry whether they have enough safety items and can focus purely on providing patient care.”

Also in Lincolnshire, at the start of the pandemic a group of volunteers joined together to start using their 3D printers at home to create face visors for our ambulance crews.

Tim Cieslik sat in drivers seat, with hands on steering wheel, wearing face visor smiling
Tim Cieslik demonstrates wearing one of the face visors that he and the rest of Lincoln 3D Printing Face Shields Group produce.

Tim Cieslik is one of these volunteers. He is a self-employed electrical engineer and when his wife was furloughed from her job they wanted to do something with their free time that was meaningful.

Tim said: “I had a 3D printer at home already and I was helping my son use it to design something for a school project.

“I then saw a plea on social media for people with printers to help create face visors for NHS staff in the local area, so I ordered four more printers and two family members donated us two more so we now have seven printers in total helping us with our production.”

The volunteer group has fourteen 3D printers in total, with the capability of creating 300 face visors a day. One of the volunteers, who is a 15-year-old boy, has created between 10-30 shields a day.

So far EMAS has received 2,693 visors with the rest of the 15,136 visors produced going to other local NHS providers including Lincoln County Hospital and Boston Pilgrim Hospital (critical care and maternity wards), GP practices, pharmacies, the prison service, Lincolnshire Police Headquarters control room, Home from Home Care, Lincolnshire Housing Association and LIVES CFR group.

Meanwhile, Sewa Day in Nottinghamshire, which also operates nationally, has been providing hot meals to our staff. The original concept of the charity was to gather four times a year to do something for the community but the team have been operated on daily basis for the past 12 weeks.

Sewa Day is also backed by various Indian and Hindu organisations including the Hindu Temple, which has been the base for preparing the meals.

Sewa Day preparing meals in the Hindu Temple in Nottingham wearing protective mask and gloves.
Volunteers from Sewa Day preparing meals in the Hindu Temple in Nottingham

The efforts are being led by Hetvi Parekh as well as Jiten Nandha, who is also playing an instrumental role in delivering the meals.

Hetvi said: “When we made the decision to volunteer daily we began focussing on four key areas; the NHS, food banks, collecting food and medicines for vulnerable people, and having a positive impact on people’s mental health.

“We have two to three chefs cooking the meals at The Hindu Temple in Nottingham and then a further one to two volunteers delivering the food to frontline crews.

“We want to make the maximum amount of positive impact to the most amount of people as possible in our community during this difficult time.”

One final honourable mention goes out to Diane Willows from Mansfield who has been baking cakes for our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) in Mansfield.

Diane worked for Nottinghamshire Police for 18 years before setting up her own chocolate making business. When the demand became too much she ceased business but wanted to use her culinary skills to help fuel our lifesavers. 

She said: “When I realised who they were and what they did I thought it was amazing and I knew I wanted to be able to support them by making sure they were fed before a challenging shift.

“I have definitely adopted them unofficially now as they are just so lovely.”

So as part of National Volunteers Week (1 June to 7 June), we would like to say a huge thank you to each and every person who has volunteered to help us during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A sample of Diane Willows variety of decorated cakes.
A sample of some of the delightful food baked by Diane Willows for the HART team in Mansfield