Meet Tim, one of our Community Heros!

Lockdown has brought out the best in many people over the last few months, but there are some whose selfless dedication to others deserves special recognition. NHS staff, carers, teachers, cashiers, delivery drivers, refuse collectors and many, many more have all played their part in keeping the region going over the last 12 weeks. It’s thanks to their bravery, kindness, consideration, and self-sacrifice that we’ve all been able to carry on as safely and securely as possible. Community has always been at the heart of everything we do here at Adnams, which is why we asked you to nominate your true Community Heroes - those whose actions have helped make a difference to others in their hour of need. We had hundreds of entries, but our three worthy winners - each of whom is now looking forward to a night’s stay at one of our fantastic venues across Norfolk and Suffolk – really stood out for their unshakeable community spirit. Thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate someone – it’s been truly heart-warming to read so many inspirational tales and remind ourselves why we’re so proud to call this part of the world our home.

Hobbyist turns hero to keep key workers safe during pandemic

Tim Neobard’s Community Hero award is given in recognition of the incredible contribution he and his fellow East Essex Hackspace members have made in keeping local key workers safe in the fight against Covid-19.

The Ashingdon-based associate director at engineering professional services consultancy WSP is one of eight members of the community workspace group that turned their love of making things into vital PPE for key workers as the pandemic hit.

Starting out making one face shield every four hours on a single 3D printer, the team adapted a template from Nottingham Hackspace and soon had three laser cutters working flat out to cope with demand from various care providers, including Basildon Hospital, Southend Hospital and Broomfield Hospital.

To date, Tim and the East Essex Hackspace team have produced, packaged and delivered a total 9,000 face shields free of charge to the hospitals, as well as GP surgeries, undertakers, care homes, pharmacies, schools and other key worker locations across the county.

He said: “Part of the thrill of making things is that they end up being useful, so once we realised we had the ability to make a difference it was something the whole team felt committed too. The need within the local NHS has dropped off for now, but the feedback we’ve had from those who’ve been wearing them has been great, so we’re going to carry on making them as the need switches to other sectors.”

East Essex Hackspace recently secured premises in the shape of an old cricket pavilion in the village of Hawkwell, near Rochford. Once restrictions are lifted Tim and his fellow ‘makers’ are hoping to host sessions at their new base aimed at upskilling and retraining people, including those affected by redundancy.

Tim was nominated for his Community Hero award by Hawkwell West Parish Councillor Julie Gooding. She said: “These face shields have enabled people to feel safer while carrying out their essential work within the community.”

Tim is now looking forward to a stay at the White Horse, Blakeney in recognition of his efforts. Thanks Tim!