At the North Longford mask making nerve centre: Lus na Gréine Family Resource Centre, Granard Manager Eileen Finan, sewing team volunteers Sadie Sheridan and Bridie Lee, and Pauline Cummins
Lus na Gréine Family Resource Centre in Granard is a busy place at the best of times!
The FRC works in collaboration with the local community offering a diverse range of family, parenting, youth and child supports, activities and social resources.
However, it has really ramped up its services during Covid-19 to support the community in a variety of ways including the production of 1,250 community standard masks and more in the making.
FRC’s board chairperson Bernadine Farrelly, said the centre is a hive of activity between the sourcing and dispatching of materials and supplies to their ten local volunteer women involved in the mask production and the collection and packaging of the masks.
She commented, “We are truly humbled to see the dedication, expertise and passion of the sewers who work quietly from their homes to deliver top standard masks in trendy, plain and muted designs to make it that little bit easier to adapt to a new way of protective living during this pandemic.”
One of the sewers, Sadie Sheridan, said, “I was delighted to design the pattern for the pleated masks when asked and I enjoy being a part of the project and part of our local FRC who do such valuable work in this community.”
Another volunteer Bridie Lee remarked, “It is important to have enough masks for local people and ones that can be reused time and time again, which is also kinder to the environment.”
The masks are made from 100% cotton material and they have a protective lining in the middle.
Joan Brady explained, “We could use cheaper materials but we wanted to ensure the masks were of a high standard and comfortable for the wearer, the work is time consuming but it is great to be part of a community project like this.”
Chrissie Small, another member of the dedicated sewing team, said she spends a part of every day sewing the masks, and her daughter Julie also helps out from time to time. “It’s a family affair,” she laughs.
The women have a system going where some cut and press and others sew. “It works very well,” pointed out FRC manager Eileen Finan.
She added, “We are so grateful to the women and of course the support and generosity of the local community - our customers, which has been overwhelming and enabled the project to be feasible.”
Freda Leahy, one of the Family Support/Community workers Lus na Gréine, said that while times are very difficult the community has remained resilient and supportive of each other.
“We cannot wait until we can get back to our normal activities,” outlined Freda, adding that it will have to ‘be a new normal’.
The centre is now developing and delivering more online services and is providing online one to one counselling support, a demand they say is increasing all the time.
The masks can be ordered by contacting the FRC’s Facebook page or by email or phone at 043 66 60977 or alternatively they are available at SuperValu Granard.