Where to buy and donate face masks in the UK

Best resources for making, buying and donating face masks in the UK

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Find out how to keep yourself and others safe during the pandemic with this guide to buying and making face coverings

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the nation begins to phase out of lockdown, thoughts turn to how we can keep ourselves and others safe as restrictions are eased. The 'new normal' already looks a whole lot different, with face masks becoming a ubiquitous sight on our streets and in our shops. The dos and don'ts of face coverings have been clearly outlined by the World Health Organisation, who also provide a number of other invaluable resources surrounding their use.

Whilst journeys on public transport remain restricted to essential trips only, new guidelines call for face coverings to be worn at all times when using trains and buses. As the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortage continues, the most sensible, compassionate and eco-friendly way for the general public (excluding those considered vulnerable and key workers) to source face coverings is to create their own reusable, washable mask. Moreover, if you have the resources to create many, there are multiple ways to donate masks, protecting others as well as yourself.

Buy a mask, give to charity

The British Fashion Council and Bags of Ethics have paired up to manufacture sustainable and reusable non-medical face coverings to use alongside existing social distancing measures. With the help of six internationally acclaimed British designers – the likes of Halpern, Julien Macdonald, Liam Hodges, Mulberry, RAEBURN and RIXO – non-medical designer masks are available to buy, with all proceeds going to NHS Charities Together, the BFC Foundation Fashion Fund and Wings of Hope Children's Charity. Likewise, Acanthus Interiors of Edinburgh are giving away masks in exchange for a donation to The Trussell Trust or Rowan Alba, or both. London-based mask vending machine innovators (yep that's right, Vedamask!) turned online store Maskey have a rainbow of colours and styles in stock with 10% of proceeds going to Lenderhand.

Tots Bots are donating 20% off sales from children's masks to NHS Charities Together and Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity. Brora are donating £10 from every mask sold to the NHS Charities Together. Notjustclothing are donating 50% of all profits from NHS merch and mask sales to the Masks For Heroes initiative, who are purchasing essential PPE for frontline workers. Purchasing a three-pack of non-medical face covers from Boden means contributing £5 to their charity of choice Helpforce, as is similar with Playmobil and Scotland's TRNSMT festival.

High-end silk masks are being sewn and sold by Valle and Vik, with all proceeds going to the NHS, and Adidas have taken action as well, contributing £2 from every 3-pack sold going directly to Save The Children's Global Coronavirus Response Fund. Casetify have launched a buy-a- mask, donate-a-mask initiative, which has donated 35,000 masks to Direct Relief so far. We've Got You Covered have a range of music-centric masks (from Billie Eilish to the Rolling Stones), giving £8 from each sale to Help Musicians. Ethical and sustainable womenswear brand Mayamiko have launched a Sponsor a Mask initiative, asking those who can spare £2 to do so to gift a mask to someone in need via The Mayamiko Trust.

Face masks in stock online

Independent makers on Etsy have created a wonderful selection of handmade non-medical face masks for adults and children, made from a beautiful array of fabrics, and with built-in pockets for filters and much more. Chemist Click and Boots also have disposable surgical masks for adults in stock, as do Amazon. Reusable masks for children can also be purchased from Not on the High Street, Tickle Tots and Lancashire Textiles, among others. Look Fantastic have a pack of 3 reusable masks, save 15% with discount code BEAUTY.

Best mask-making tutorials

Where can I donate masks and other PPE?

PPE equipment is needed far and wide and, to ensure the safe exchange of qualifying items, most hospitals are not taking donations directly and instead operate through facilitating companies. Med Supply Drive is a prime example of this, calling for donations of medical-grade PPE that can then be sent to hospitals in need.

The University of Cambridge has compiled an extensive list of things to consider when donating, such as what is required, where to send items and how they'll help. Hand-made items are also being accepted in some case. Age UK have launched a appeal for reusable facemasks as have St Martins Housing Trust and hospital websites display points of contact for such donations. Glasgow-based initiative Vise Up continue to produce and distribute over 25,000 PPE units per week for NHS and emergency services frontline workers. Those who are able to contribute to visor production should get in touch and join their network of makers.

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