Staff at the Highland’s leading copy-scan-print firm have stepped forward to offer its specialist services to support two community initiatives that are tackling the Coronavirus crisis.
Highland Office Equipment in Inverness, which is part of Capital Document Solutions, have loaned a £2000 hi-tech 3D printer which is playing a key role in creating vital face visor shields as part of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed by NHS staff.
It has also sponsored Highland charity Safe Strong and Free, which aims to reduce the vulnerability of young children to abuse and neglect, by agreeing to print 200 sets of activity packs which have been designed to help protect children during lockdown.
The charity said the sponsorship has allowed the packs to be distributed in particular to families in poverty where they have no access to printed materials or broadband.
Sales Director Alex Main jumped in with the offer of the 3D printer - as well as a supply of acetate spools - after hearing of the project by the 3D PPE Prints for Covid-19 Highlands group.
The loan of the 3D printer was one of the first to be received by the group, which allowed the project to kick off.
Alex said: “We have all been moved by the work that NHS staff, social care workers and medical practices are doing during the Coronavirus pandemic. Because of a lack of PPE, these staff are actually putting their lives at risk to help others.
“Being able to loan out our 3D printer for this project is just a small thing we can do to show our appreciation.
“We are also very pleased to be joining up with other organisations – like Safe Strong and Free – as well as other businesses and individuals in communities across the Highlands and Islands to collectively come together to support local projects that are trying to tackle the impact of the pandemic.”
Safe Strong and Free project manager Kerry Glen said: “During the lockdown some children could be at increased risk of abuse. Firstly, we are seeing an increase with online activity and a recent assessment undertaken by National Crime Agency (NCA) suggests there are currently 300,000 paedophiles online discussing how to exploit the situation. Secondly, children normally have contact with a number of adults throughout their day like teachers and neighbours.
“But due to the lockdown they are spending much more time at home. If a child is experiencing abuse, there are not so many people to spot the signs so we want to make sure children know how to get help.
“While the pack was available to download, I’m aware that a number of families may be experiencing financial difficulties, and that they may not have broadband or access to a printer.
“This support from Highland Office Equipment means we can ensure that all families have access to the activity pack. We started promotion on social media and we have already had a high number of requests for the pack and for additional packs to be made for older children and children with additional support needs.”
The 3D printer, which is usually used for creating presentational models and prototypes designs, has helped the group in producing more than 1000 visors to date.
Alex, who lives in Inverness, roped in his nine-year-old son Jamie to run a series of tests before the printer was handed over.
A crowdfunding appeal by 3D PPE Prints for Covid-19 Highlands to raise funds for filament and acetate to make the face shields has reached its £4500 target.
The group has already had initial discussions with NHS Highlands to identify local need and aims to widen the supply of the PPE to anywhere with a requirement.
Capital Document Solutions is Scotland’s leading copy-print-scan specialist, employing 200 people at five sites across Scotland.