As part of the celebrations for Volunteers’ Week, Barnsley Council is showcasing the community work that is helping to make sure that residents of Barnsley have access to face coverings as part of the Public Health guidance to help keep communities safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The council are working with partners at Barnsley CVS and people in the community to support the creation of sewn face coverings. The council are urging people to be more alert and more careful than ever about observing the now-familiar measures to reduce transmission in the community. These include regular handwashing, social distancing, staying at home and self-isolating if symptomatic. Partners and the council are keen to encourage people to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces to protect others.
The project has so far seen 1,600 face coverings distributed across the borough to family, friends and neighbours of the volunteers, with 575 ready to go. So far, around 80 people have signed up with the scheme to create face coverings, with the council delivering 55 kits, as well as materials, from Barnsley Markets and Walton’s in Goldthorpe.
Jenni, one of the council’s volunteers from the Barnsley Superstars project, said: “I saw on social media that Barnsley Council were encouraging people to make face coverings for their community. As I absolutely love sewing and I have plenty of time on my hands during lockdown, I jumped at the chance to volunteer. Since then, I’ve made around 130 face coverings, I go out and deliver them to people in my community, and then I’ve been helping other people on the Facebook group to make them.”
“If you can sew and you’ve got a sewing machine, or you have sewing skills, but you’ve never really been brave enough to take on a project, please join and volunteer, because we need as many people as possible to make them and to get them out into the community. There’s fabric available, and support on social media and through emails helping you to do it.”
“It’s very rewarding, I’ve been taking them to people, and they are very grateful for getting them. You’ll get a real buzz from it, and you’re helping other people which is important. A lot of people are quite anxious, so the thought of using public transport and going out can be scary, especially the thought of passing the virus on. At least with now, they know with the face covering, and other social distancing it helps to slow down the chance of passing it on.”
If you’d like to get involved with the project, as a sewer or to help distribute the face coverings, join the ‘Barnsley Superstars - community face-covering volunteers’ group on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/BarnsleySuperstars and fill out the online form.
Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to go out a visit Jenni today. I’m incredibly proud of the work volunteers are doing and how they are adapting their skills to help build strong and resilient communities to meet the new normal that we face. As with the Barnsley Superstars, and all of the volunteers that are helping to create face coverings on their own, or as part of other community groups, the work they are doing is really important to help our communities and to help keep Barnsley safe.”