Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Maia Flora
Features Writer
8:36 AM 16th November 2020

Leeds Women's Group Asks For Homemade Masks

A Women’s Group at New Wortley Community Centre, Leeds is creating ‘make-a-mask’ packs for the local community.

The group, based on Tong Lane, hopes the fun and creative activity will provide a focus for individuals who may be struggling with mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, as well as the pressures of Lockdown Two.

Each pack is filled with everything needed to make a mask at home, with information on how to create hand-sewn masks, as well as instructions on how to make no-sew masks from household materials for those who don’t have a sewing machine or sewing skills.

The kits contain enough to make one mask, but the group hopes that recipients will enjoy the process and create more.

The masks will then become part of the safety packs that the NWCC is putting together to hand out to those that need them. The packs will also include information on maintaining positive mental health, possibly hand sanitiser, and various numbers to contact regarding mental health, economic help and advice, food banks and accessing food whilst in isolation.

Victoria Kortekaas, a spokesperson for the group, said:

“The project has only just started but after reaching out on social media we have had offers from people who would like to make a mask.

“The centre provides the materials to make one mask, but we are hoping there are people out there who have the time and materials to make more than one and donate them to the centre.”

These donations will then be distributed in December to those that need the support, and through this it is also hoped that other local women who may benefit from accessing the Women’s Group will be identified.

The Women’s Group was formed in early 2020, led by Leeds Community Foundation and, as Kortekaas said, “is a place for women to develop healthy environments and to nurture positive mental health, and give women a space to relax away from the daily struggles of work, parenting, family, grief and relationships.”

During the first lockdown some of the women from the group struggled with isolation. Once they could meet again, they planned for the second lockdown, arranging to keep in touch online via Zoom. Through this they have been able to stay involved with the NWCC, and take part in this project.