A MONUMENTAL community effort from an army of volunteers has led to more than 1000 pieces of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) being delivered to the community.

Arnside Volunteer Group has so far cut, sewn and delivered 426 visors, 306 gowns and 274 masks to care homes, several doctors surgeries and vulnerable residents.

Simon Whorrall has been instrumental in the operation, creating the group in March as a response to the coronavirus crisis.

“Me and a few friends had the idea of delivering food and doing a few bits,” he said.

“I set up the Arnside Volunteer Group on Facebook. By the next morning we had 250 volunteers and that’s continued to over 600.”

Mr Whorrall had heard from friends about the worrying situation in care homes.

“They were giving us horror stories about what was going on in care homes in regards to coronavirus.

“We thought what could we do?”

He got in contact with the Women’s Institute (WI) as well as friends who were accomplished sewers.

This resulted in the group recruiting 100 sewers and utilising the WI’s headquarters as their very own PPE factory.

“We put three shifts of four people in the hall and they cut out the visors and sew the gowns,” Mr Whorrall said.

Items are made, packed and then transferred down to the group’s headquarters at Arnside sailing club.

“We quarantine the equipment for a few days before it's delivered, just to make sure,” said Mr Whorrall.

“It was a task getting materials. Elastic and cotton were an issue.”

The group made contact with several laundry companies which supply Lake District hotels.

The laundries did not disappoint and donated tonnes of sheets to be made into gowns.

Not only has the group created its own PPE production line it is also doing other work in the community.

The group have set up a telephone buddy scheme, home education forum and are delivering hot meals from the Albion pub to local residents.

The volunteer team has 25 teachers as well as five qualified councillors who are supporting residents with home schooling and emotional wellbeing.

Mr Whorrall said there were so many people wanting to help that he is struggling to find things for everyone to do.

“It’s heartwarming how it’s brought people together and I think it’s helped the volunteers too,” he said “It’s been quite the ride.”