Suddenly finding myself in a position where I was unable to undertake any of my usual activities, including our many planned fund and awareness raising ones, what to do?

An answer came in the form of one of my friend and HHfR colleague Helen who, as an accomplished sewer of many years was, I discovered was already ‘beavering away’ producing many useful items for the NHS, including face masks. After several phone and Zoom instructions from Helen, I bought a sewing machine, set myself up a workstation at home and started becoming a ‘mask maker’. Easier said than done, but after a few words of wisdom from Helen, I was on my way. Soon, we had another convert to Helen’s mask making! Frankie, who after sitting with Helen for an afternoon and borrowing one of her sewing machines, was soon producing them at a rate of knots. Our mask making volunteers are certainly increasing.

Bring it on!

Hull Help for Refugees is nothing if it is not innovative. We have risen to the challenge of lockdown by raising funds and awareness through quizzes, Q&A events, sponsored physical activities (done by wonderful people across the country as well as our own volunteers) and indeed mask making.

We use fabric which has been donated to us, launder it, and cut it into the correct shape using, of course, Helen’s templates. Searching for the correct material has become a whole new skill and I have to say, I never thought the day would come when I got exited about a garment that was too large to send to Calais, but was just perfect by colour, wash ability and texture for a mask.

Yes indeed, this lockdown has changed so many priorities for so many of us! We have found that people are very keen to give us a donation for our face masks and we are very keen to stress that every penny we make goes to helping those who have lost everything through war and conflict.

In these strange times where so many of us are still in shock and summoning up all our inner resources, I can say that from my own personal experience, making masks was ‘a gift’ and helped give me a sense of purpose. It was also ‘a gift’ that I was able to buy myself a sewing machine, had a place to use it and had a ‘network of friends to be part of.

I cannot speak for the rest of our HHfR team, but I know from experience that every activity they undertake is done from the same place. The same place as the masks are made, the miles are cycled, the roads are walked, the donations are sorted, the boxes are sent and much, much more. Thy are done from that place called love. Thanks ‘Team Hull’ for your support of HHfR.