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Teacher creates hundreds of reusable headbands that anchor NHS workers face masks nationwide

A Banbury teacher has put her skills to good use to create reusable headbands at home to help frontline NHS workers nationwide stay comfortable in the fight against COVID-19.

23 April 2020

A Banbury teacher has put her skills to good use to create reusable headbands at home to help frontline NHS workers nationwide stay comfortable in the fight against COVID-19. 

The headbands, which can be washed and reused, help to reduce rubbing and stop the wearer getting uncomfortable when using face masks for long periods of time. 

Catherine Daw, business teacher at Banbury and Bicester College, started making the headbands at home after seeing an image on social media of nurses with sores on their faces after wearing PPE all day.  

Catherine said: “I’ve made headbands which have buttons on them, I asked if they would be helpful for nurses. The reason for this, is that when medical staff have to wear face masks all day, the elastic around their ears often rubs and causes them to have sore ears. So, I have been making headbands to prevent this. 

“I put out an appeal on my village Facebook group and I very quickly got a response from a nurse who worked at the Horton Hospital in Banbury asking for some for her department.  

“I couldn’t make them quickly enough as more and more people wanted them. Lots of ladies from my village helped with making and providing buttons and material and I wouldn’t have kept up with the supply without their help.” 

The headbands are in high demand and have been used by NHS staff at the Horton Hospital in Banbury, North Bristol NHS Trust, The Nightingale Hospital London and Great Ormond Street Hospital, as well as in doctors' surgeries, wards and care homes nationwide.  

Esther Staples, Records Administrator at Cropedy Surgery in Banbury, said: “Cat donated to the surgery and had got some friends to help her. It’s just really nice that the community has come together and people like Cat and her friends have made these headbands for our surgery and for others. 

“I think we’d be in a far worse situation if it wasn’t for people like Cat and all the other volunteers that are coming together to help the NHS. 

“It gave the staff a little boost and that sense of not being alone because it’s very isolating. They’re seeing patients but they haven’t got the same face-to-face contact and time to spend with people that they normally do.  

“Things like the headbands are nice and cheerful and it just brightens up everyone's day, knowing that there are people out there thinking of them and appreciating them. It just gave staff morale a little boost and we’re really lucky. 

“It’s all generations of people coming together to help one another out. It’s good that nice and positive things can come out of what really is a horrible situation.” 

Julie Tinsley, Orthopaedic Practitioner at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “I took twelve into my department and my colleagues were like locusts screaming ‘I want that one, I want that one’. We put them on and took a group photograph and they’ve continued to wear them each day.  

“The headbands do two things; they keep your hair out of your eyes which is a big issue and obviously they anchor the face masks on. 

“By the end of the day you’re a bit frazzled and so it does help. I’ve worn mine all day and it’s stayed where it is, it’s brilliant and is definitely doing the job. Loads of people stop us on the ward and ask us where they’re from.” 

Each headband takes around 10 minutes to make. The material used must be cotton or polyester and it is boil washed before being cut and pieced together on a sewing machine. Afterwards, buttons are attached which are the size of two-pound coins.  

Catherine has since shared how to videos on local Facebook groups and more people have joined to support the effort to make headbands to protect the NHS.  

Catherine added: “This has taken on a life of its own! Some people have made headbands, some have provided fabric or buttons, everyone has been very helpful.  

“The reason I did this is because I am very grateful to our fabulous NHS, I cannot imagine how they must feel going into work each day at the moment, and although the headbands are a very little thing, every little helps. 

“We’ve helped so many people and I have made lots of new friends. We are all going to get together when this is all over.” 

For anyone who would like to donate new fabric or buttons to support the making of more headbands, please contact communications@activatelearning.ac.uk

To find out more about studying at Activate Learning, please visit our website or contact us on 0800 612 6008.