KIND hearted college staff have been cooking meals, sewing NHS headbands, printing PPE and delivering supplies to support communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

When New College Durham closed in March, engineering technician Rob Thompson began using the college’s 3D printer to make PPE visors from his home in Chester-le-Street.

Initially, the PPE equipment he produced was sent to a central location to be distributed nationally.

Now the equipment can be distributed locally so he has been getting on his bike and using his daily exercise time to deliver the visors around the region.

So far, Mr Thompson has made 83 visors and 62 have been distributed locally.

His donations have helped staff at Dipton Manor Care Home, Kepier Medical Centre, Consett Medical Centre and Hebburn Health Centre.

The Northern Echo:

Lucky residents in Usworth, Washington, have had lockdown meals made for them by a professional chef.

Every Thursday, catering lecturer Lynn Mitchinson has made and delivered meals to elderly neighbours.

She also ‘braved the shave’ during lockdown – cropping her locks to raise £710 for Kidney Research UK.

The Northern Echo:

When Rachel James, a mechanical engineering lecturer, received a request to make headbands from a friend who works for the for NHS she stepped up to the mark.

She was told staff at the James Cook University Hospital were finding wearing face masks for 12 hours at a time uncomfortable, and had started to wear headbands attached to the masks with buttons to ease the tension.

Rachel and New College colleagues including Christine Brown, Jayne Stephens and Sandra Oakford have made more than 40 headbands to grateful NHS staff.

Marketing campaigns and events officer Claire Simmons has been supporting her village by providing a contactless delivery service to vulnerable residents. With help from five-year-old daughter, Popsie, she picks up prescriptions and delivers hot meals.

Hair and beauty staff donated a range of skincare products to St Aidan Lodge Residential Home, in Framwellgate Moor, which beauty students had planned to visit before restrictions meant it had to be cancelled.

The Northern Echo:

Hairdressing lecturer, Samantha Nolan, said: “It was a gesture to the staff who are working hard under difficult circumstances.

"It is important people know they are appreciated.”

John Widdowson, college chief executive and principal, said: “We believe it is so important to support our local communities, now more than ever.

"We are very proud of the way our staff have stepped up and are using their different skills to help local people and support key workers.”