West Buckland School has begun making plastic facemasks for local health workers.

The school’s Design and Technology Department has responded to the urgent need for PPE (personal protection equipment) by producing them on its 3D printer.

Plus, the science departments at the school have donated all the safety goggles and glasses they have in stock to local doctors surgeries and the school caterers have donated fruit and veg waste to Exmoor Zoo to feed the animals.

Initially approached by a local GP surgery, the DT team sourced a template for PPE face masks off the internet and used PLA (polylactide), a biodegradable material suitable to protect medical staff when treating potential Covid-19 patients and can also be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.

Production is in full swing and already the school has been able to supply masks to North Devon Hospice and South Molton Community Hospital.

The school is hoping to continue to produce more masks as long as there is a need. It said it has begun to co-ordinate a small team of people and local companies who own 3D printers and there are several other companies across the region who are doing similar excellent work.