GMIT staff member producing hundreds of reusable face coverings for nursing homes in region

Monday, May 25, 2020 Press Office
Press Release

A member of staff in GMIT’s School of Design and Creative Arts has been putting her creative skills and resources to invaluable use since April, making hundreds of reusable face coverings for use in nursing homes and more recently for GMIT staff who opt to wear them on return to campus.

Textiles Technician Kelly Roberts from Galway city is making on average 75 non-medical masks a week while continuing to remotely provide technical support to some 40 students on the BA in Design (Fashion & Textiles Design) and also homeschooling her two young children.

Kelly and colleagues are also busy preparing a plan for the safe return to campus of staff and students, in compliance with the HSE’s social distancing measures and public health guidelines.

“I really wanted to use my skills and resources from GMIT to help fight this Coronavirus pandemic but it had to be something I could do at home and around my children's daily schedule and GMIT work. I am lucky to have access to the necessary resources in the Textiles Department as shortly after shut down we were allowed back into the campus for a quick visit to collect items, while adhering to strict physical distancing. I was able to bring a sewing machine and threads home where I set up my workstation.”

“I am relying solely on donations of fabric from friends and colleagues. Mostly I use high quality cotton duvet covers and sheets as they are easy to fashion into non-medical masks, and everyone needs an excuse to clean out their hot press! If anyone would like to donate good quality fabric, please feel free to contact me on

“I am currently making on average 75 masks a week although it varies from day to day. I started by giving them to nursing homes around Galway and people on the front line. Word is spreading through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.. and I am now sending masks to locations as far away as Donegal.”

“Our GMIT Health & Safety Officer Doreen Geoghegan recently asked me to provide reusable face coverings for GMIT staff who may opt to use them, as currently the institute is working on its Return to Campus Protocol plan which includes a risk assessment component. If staff avail of the offer, it will keep me busy for many more weeks and I would hope to have a reusable mask available for those who wish to use them come September, all going well”

GMIT is currently putting plans in place to ensure public health measures are implemented through social distancing, handwashing and hygiene measures in the first instance. Face coverings are an optional extra personal measure to assist in preparation for winter coughs and colds to prevent the spread of infection.

GMIT Health & Safety Officer Doreen Geoghegan says: “Hand washing with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds is the primary action we can take in protecting ourselves and others. In tandem with this, social distancing is effective at limiting the spread. Although it is optional to wear face coverings, it is an additional measure to prevent disease spread indoors or when in crowded places.”

“People are reminded to observe etiquette around cough and sneezing, and the wearing of a non-medical mask can limit the spread should this occur. I am delighted that Kelly has provided this resource of sustainable and reusable face coverings for so many. GMIT will collaborate to ensure that we all take personal responsibility to protect our health in accordance with the Department of Health video 'How to safely wear face covering’.

Celine Curtin, Head of the GMIT Centre for Creative Arts and Media, says: “We have a wealth of expertise and skills amongst staff and students in GMIT and we are only too delighted to seek every opportunity to contribute to wellbeing of all in these challenging times.”

If you would like to know more about GMIT’s Bachelor of Arts in Design courses, see:

Issued by Regina Daly, GMIT Communications & Press Officer, GMIT, Dublin Road, Galway.

Tel 091-742826/ 0879618355 (m)

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