With face coverings now compulsory for customers in shops in England, a group of Ekta Unity service users and friends have come together to make over 400 handmade washable face masks for all of Ekta Unity’s Service Users, Volunteers, Session Workers and Trustees. Two face masks each will be included in the next regular ‘Ekta Unity Care Pack’, which will be delivered to service users in the beginning of August.

The UK Government recently announced that face covering is mandatory in enclosed public spaces, such as supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and takeaways.

Suman Ghaiwal-Chair of Ekta Unity said: “It is the responsibility of each individuals to wear a face covering. I am confident that our service users will comply with the regulations and will play their part in fighting the spread of Corona virus. Ekta Unity has responded to the new Government guidelines by making washable face masks, which will be given free to everyone associated with our charity. I want to thank our service users for taking up the challenge to make these face masks and also for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep everyone safe”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government’s ability to ease social-distancing measures and face-mask rules depended on it being able to drive down the level of the virus. According to the guidance, staff in premises where face coverings are required are encouraged to take steps to “promote compliance with the law” and can refuse entry to people who do not have a valid exemption under the rules. There are exemptions to the new rules for children under 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

Kiran Brar-Ekta Unity’s lead session worker, who has coordinated the initiative with our service users to make the face masks said: “One of the biggest benefits of the new rule will be for our most vulnerable service users, who will feel happier heading out to the shops. I want to thank the group of service users and friends who have come together at such short notice to make these washable handmade face masks”.

According to the UK Government, face coverings should cover the mouth and nose and can be as simple as a face mask, scarf or bandana that securely fits around the side of the face without having to be held in place.

An Ekta Unity service user commented: “I have underlying health conditions which makes me more vulnerable to coronavirus, and I encourage everyone to be ‘morally responsible‘ and wear a face covering. You’ve got to think about the other people you’re going to come into contact with and their ability to deal with the virus. I’ve been shielding for four months, so I feel much more at ease knowing everybody else will be covered up. We should all wear face masks so that we can get rid of this virus and get back to normal life again”.

Sanjay Jagatia
Ekta Unity