Coronavirus: NI firm aims to 'ramp up' production of frontline FaceShields

The managing director of a Magherafelt manufacturing firm which has gone into production of personal protective equipment, says he has been "blown away by support" from his staff.

Cormac Diamond, founder of Bloc Blinds, says they plan to produce 22,000 FaceShields per day, and is aiming to ramp up production volume in the weeks ahead.

Following the creation of a prototype FaceShield last week the company has now repurposed its production line and began work on Monday.

Mid Ulster District Council has supported the business by providing the use of Meadowbank Sports Arena to facilitate the production work.

The FaceShield which will be used by frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19.

FaceShields provide vital direct splash face protection to those bravely working on the front line against Covid-19.

Mr Diamond said: "I have been blown away by the support of the Bloc Blinds staff since repurposing our business.

"It has been an extremely busy few days as we have been preparing to set up our operations. This would also not have been possible without the help of local businesses, suppliers, and those who have offered their assistance in any way possible - from premises, furniture, to hands on help.

"The health and wellbeing of our employees is our top priority and we will ensure we are fully compliant with social distancing guidelines.

Busy at work on the production of the new FaceShields.

"This is a not-for-profit venture and we recognise both the level of demand and critical need for PPE face shields and would love to be able to help everyone.

"At present, we have the capability to supply face shields directly to front line clinicians in acute care settings, but we are continuing to work with our supply chain to review this. Our aim is to support as many frontline workers as we possibly can in the fight against Covid-19."

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Martin Kearney, said: “If a local company can re-purpose its production line with such agility and innovation to make urgently needed equipment for health workers, then we can re-purpose one of our sports centres to facilitate their work.

“Supplying premises, equipment and staff means we can play a very practical part in supporting local industry’s response to the pandemic and we are more than glad to do so”.

Cormac Diamond.