As the Covid-19 restrictions curtailed the B'More Hens Shed activities, this group of women joined the Covid-19 response as part of the Better Together – Níos Fearr Le Chéile Peace Impact Programme (PIP).
To do this they had to evolve and adapt to support their members in a different way.
The B'More Hens adapted their weekly meeting to a more Covid-19 friendly weekly WhatsApp.
Within this conversation of positive affirmations and supportive chats, the prototype of the protective face coverings developed.
The B’More Hens developed safety protocols around the prevailing guidelines to use their resources to focus on making prototype face coverings, this endeavour used funds from the International Fund for Irelands local PIP.
At the beginning of April 2020, sewing stations were set up in B’More Hens Shed.
The sewing machines are funded by a Community Enhancement Program (CEP) from the Department of Rural and Community Development last year.
The 100% cotton fabric, elastic, dressmaking scissors and sanitizing station protocol was funded by the International Fund for Irelands’ local PIP.
Due to cocooning advisories and the Covid-19 restrictions a handful of Hens at a time from the 15 strong membership, have been developing and making the masks or face coverings. The B’More Hens are now ready to produce their prototype as Covid-19 restrictions ease.
The group has secured some funding from Leitrim County Council Covid-19 Emergency Fund, to continue making face masks that can be distributed to local people who wish to wear them while doing their shopping or attending other newly opened spaces.
Three weeks ago, a pensioner who had been confined to the house since March 5 was able to go to the local garden centre, wearing one of the face coverings.
Many people have been given masks to wear on shopping trips and other trips as restrictions ease. This has helped in developing comfortable face coverings with individual shape and design.
The Better Together – Níos Fearr Le Chéile PIP has also shared bespoke Notebooks with members of the Fermanagh Writers and B’More Hens to continue with their writing activities.
Four more writers joined them. There has been varying degrees of writers' block, but relationships are being maintained.
As restrictions ease there is a potentially growing role for the B’More Hens Shed masks in keeping us all safe.
The B’More Hens and writers will continue with their cross-border peace impact work as soon as restrictions relax enough for them to resume.
The Leitrim Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis have also asked them to make a bundle of face coverings over the next few days, so hopefully these face coverings will get lots of use into the future.
The B'more Hens have all have realized recently, we are better together if a little apart, washing our hands regularly, and staying home when feeling unwell and wearing a face mask while out shopping.