Written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger

As a Kent based business, we at Luke Granger Photography feel it is important to give our support to the wider community. We wanted to let our readers know how we have been keeping busy during the first few weeks of lockdown.

A little back story...

Luke has been interested in 3D printing for a number of years and has made so many lovely things that we have on display or use at home all the time; we have a full chess set, Jessica has a Wonder Woman costume and if you have heard one of his amazing train whistles you will be impressed. When it was announced that the 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' campaign was launching, Luke decided to purchase another 3D printer, initially this was because he wanted to complete some larger projects whilst he knew he would have time at home but his choice has since turned into something so much more worthwhile.

Over the last couple of weeks have seen a handful of posts about volunteers making face shields for the NHS and other frontline workers using their 3D printers. We weren't sure how much of a demand there would be for these but after a little investigation, it turns out 1000's are needed.

Alongside a handful of other hobbyists in our local area and councillor Kelly Grehan, a Facebook page called "North Kent 3D Shields" was created and production began by a number of volunteers nearby. The mission: to make shields for keyworkers who are continuing their duties during such a difficult time. From reaching out to just a handful of organisations, it became clear that to meet the demand and protect as many people as possible from Covid-19, production needs to be increased significantly.

The design we are printing (teamed with the attached perspex sheet) has been proven as most effective with use of a surgical mask underneath. For medical use this is vital, however if cleaned regularly they are also able to help protect others who are required to work on the frontline. Unfortunately, PPE supplies are extremely exhausted across the UK and we will continue production until permanent supplies are available. We have calculated that each shield costs around 70p to produce, if you are in a position to make a donation then please visit our gofundme page and be sure to share this article on social media.

We are grateful that our business is in a position where we are able to contribute financially, Luke Granger Photography has invested around £1500 in the space of 4 days on materials and equipment. By the end of the week we will have 5 printers operating from our home which will hopefully allow production of 200+ shields each day. When production is no longer needed, Luke has chosen to donate the surplus machines (alongside materials and a training session) to a local secondary school (TBC) as we feel it would be a fantastic way to encourage the next generation to learn how to use 3D printers.

We appreciate that many of the volunteers have already invested a huge amount of their own funds to kick start the project, to ensure they can continue, we have set up a gofundme page and are already receiving some fantastic donations. The funds raised are going towards purchasing additional filament, perspex sheets and equipment to ensure we can collectively protect as many frontline workers as possible.

Currently, there are around 20 printers working around the clock in homes across North Kent to support the cause and distribute to the local hospitals as well as other frontline workers such as chemists, surgeries and care homes. The number of printers is growing daily as new volunteers come forward or new printers are sourced.

Founding volunteer Richard Leachman, who in addition to printing has been making lots of deliveries, will be doubling his production when a machine, 100% funded by the donations from our gofundme page, arrives later this week. The social workers of North Kent have also purchased a brand new machine to be used for the duration of the project as a symbol of gratitude for our work. One of their co-ordinators, Vicki, has selected Temple Hill Primary school to receive the 3D printer when production is over. When this time comes, we hope the teachers and students enjoy experimenting with it but for now one of our volunteers will see it is put to good use.

Our project is about protecting what really matters in a time like this, the people.

We will continue our efforts in supporting the frontline workers for as long as necessary and would like to send our sincere thanks to anyone who is working during this time. Whether you are a delivery driver, doctor or dustbin collector, you are all doing a fantastic job and we wish you health and happiness.

Stay Home, Stay Safe

Luke & Bethany

In The Press

A number of local reporters have been in touch to discuss our project and we even featured on the front page of our local paper.

An article written by Bethany, published in Thinking Business Magazine June 2020. As members of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce we were asked to contribute to the latest edition of the publication.