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Imagine what crafters can do to help Moray carers amid Coronavirus pandemic

By Chris Saunderson

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A CRAFT auction is being held to cover the costs of producing face masks for local Moray care workers.

The online auction starts today (May 22) and runs until Wednesday, May 27.

Two care workers model the masks made by the team.
Two care workers model the masks made by the team.

Skye MacKenzie, owner of the Imagine store, Lossie Wynd, Elgin was the inspiration behind a project to sew facemasks for care workers. Desperate to use her creative skills to do something positive, Skye contacted Elgin Business Improvement District to see if they could help coordinate the project.

Together they sought support from sewers who came forward to use their skills, with Skye creating a template and instructions and Elgin BID liaising with care homes.

Skye said: "Like other businesses we have been forced to close the shop and wanted to try and use our time positively. The products we sell come from a range of artisan craft workers, so it seemed like a great idea to tap into those skills.

"Many of the crafters I work with came forward and offered to help, so, having researched and experimented I found a simple design that could be produced in the home.

"I made contact with a local care home to see if they might be interested and knew there was a demand so I contacted Gill and Tina at Elgin BID to see if they could help pull everything together and here we are.”

The project offers a practical way for the public to come forward and do something positive. Care workers leave their place of work at the end of a shift, returning later to carry on with the amazing work they do, but being outside and meeting others runs a risk, the aim is that these masks help to offer a level of protection.

To fund the purchase of the materials needed, Skye again reached out to the crafters and artists and they rose to the challenge, many including Skye, have donated beautiful handcrafted pieces that will be auctioned on the Elgin BID Facebook page - www.facebook.com/elginbid.

The auction starts at noon on Friday, May 22 and closes at noon on Wednesday, May 27.

All proceeds will be used to cover the costs of production, if there is any money left this will be donated to Moray

Food Plus.

There are several auction items including an original oil on canvas painting by Lesley Boyd, a mounted panoramic photo by Peter Harvey/Speyside Images, a 6oz leather and stainless steel hip flask, 2 x19" tall unicorn dolls created by Skye with accessories by Lesley Boyd, a hand crafted bear,

scarfs and pyrography artwork by Skye.

For those who do not want to bid, there is also a Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/imagine-facemasks where people can leave donations. The project offers everyone the chance to act and help their local care workers.

Gill Neill, chief executive of Elgin BID said: “While the masks we were able to make are not PPE, the homes were keen to have them for their staff when they finish their shift, helping them to return to work safely.

"We have been able to provide masks for more than 300 care workers across five homes. I cannot thank Skye enough for asking us to get involved in this project, we all want to do something practical to help and it’s been lovely to see people come forward to give us their time so freely.

"At Elgin BID we have been working hard to keep our business members updated on developments over the last couple of months and are delighted to have helped many access the funding that has been made available, we know that our direct intervention has now led to more than £290,000 being distributed in the city.

"Our new Coronavirus page on the web site www.embraceelgin.co.uk is open for everyone in the region. There is information on it for both businesses and individuals so please feel free to have a look. If ever there was a time to work together and help each other out this is it.

"Covid-19 has changed the world, the way people work, eat, shop and play, it has had a particularly tough effect on the business community.

"Where possible people have found alternative ways to carry out their roles, but for some that just has not been possible. The coming months will continue to be hard as new rules, regulations and social distancing measures have to be followed. As things return to normal, we hope that people will support their local businesses, use local services and shop local where ever possible."

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