YOUNGSTERS and school staff are supporting key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic by making personal protective equipment (PPE) visors for NHS trusts, district nursing teams, GP surgeries, and care homes throughout the region.

Workers and teenagers from UTC South Durham technical college, in Newton Aycliffe, have created the 'Visors for Victory' initiative and have already produced 200 visors and are sourcing more material to continue production.

The visors have already been distributed, including to district nurses at University Health Centre, Durham, recently set-up hot hubs in Darlington and Middleton-in-Teesdale, two GP surgeries, and two care and domiciliary organisations.

The UTC team, led by vice principal Jamie Smith, are making use of the engineering facilities on site and creating protective visors using a laser cutter.

Staff have also volunteered to help with production, delivery, and purchasing materials.

Speaking about making the visors, Mr Smith said: "After hearing about the unavailability of PPE for our health workers and seeing the efforts of other UTCs across the country, we decided to support healthcare providers by making visors.

"The NHS and other healthcare providers are helping so many people during this incredibly difficult time, and we wanted to give something back to try and keep our healthcare heroes safe.

"The crisis has also shown how much we need people with STEM skills, particularly healthcare workers, engineers and technologists – those UTC is designed to support. It’s been a privilege to use my engineering and design skills to develop these visors, and to make and distribute them with the committed team at UTC."

Over the coming weeks, small teams will be working to produce the visors whilst following social distancing guidelines.

UTC South Durham has also donated masks, gloves and goggles to the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Among the students getting involved in the initiative, is Connor Lowrie, who donated 20 visors he had made using his 3D printer at home.

UTC South Durham is a STEM focused school for 14-19 year olds, specialising in engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The school is one of 20 schools within the UTC (University Technical Colleges) network which are supporting the NHS by making masks and other protective equipment using 3D printers.