STAFF and students at Blackburn College have been doing what they can to help make up for national PPE shortages by making their own to supply to vulnerable people and key workers.

Fashion student Rachel White has been making face masks for family, friends, key workers and people with underlying health conditions, while college fashion and textiles facilitators, Gwyneth Clarkson and Andrew Mathison, have been creating scrub wash bags and PPE button bands.

Ms White, 48 from Blackburn, who is working on a BA (Hons) in contemporary fashion, had originally begun to use her skills to create masks for family members.

She said: “I was worried about members of my family, so I made them face masks from fabrics suited to them.

“I wasn’t sure if anybody would wear them, but they love them and still wear them now - that made me smile.”

Ms White, who has also signed up as an NHS volunteer to help deliver shopping and prescriptions to vulnerable people, then decided to work at a much higher level.

She said: “I then joined Facebook groups to learn how to create scrubs and masks for the NHS.”

She added: “I still wanted to help other key workers, so I contacted WM Alty & Sons Funeral Services, asked if they needed any face masks and explained that they weren’t medical.

“They responded almost immediately and were so thankful.”

Ms White’s efforts were joined by Ms Clarkson and Mr Mathison who used professional pattern cutting and sewing workshops at the Blackburn College campus to create much needed wash bags and button bands.

Mr Mathison said: “With the College’s workshops and materials, it is the least we can do.

“Key workers are putting their health at risk on a daily basis whilst they continue their incredible work.

“We’re just doing a small part in helping to ensure their safety.”

The college, which remains locked down, hailed the effort of its staff members.

Creative and digital head of school Annie Kerfoot said: “We have the facilities and materials at Blackburn College to help this national effort, so it’s excellent to see Gwyneth and Andrew’s initiative to support key care workers with PPE.”