A SOCIAL enterprise in Skelmersdale has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by pivoting from its usual commercial market to producing a line of facemasks for the general public.
The Sewing Rooms has been able to bring staff back from furlough and help protect the local community, with the help of an £8,000 of grant from Livv Investment.
A fall in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown meant that some staff needed to be furloughed, so co-founder Paula Gamester started to think about ways to both help the community and bring staff back from furlough.
Paula and her team are creating a production line of facemasks for the general public and these non-surgical masks are made with certified virus-resistant ‘Panaz Shield Plus Technology’ - meaning they can be worn and washed many times.
The Sewing Rooms has the capacity to create 10,000 of these masks, helping to protect the community without using surgical masks that are still needed for NHS and care staff.
Paula said: “In February we were making curtains, bedding and soft furnishing for hotel chains and residential settings, but all of that dried up with the pandemic. My staff were furloughed from March, so we galvanised all of our ex-students as volunteers and started making masks for the community.
We’ve had orders from national charities and it’s really ramping up.”