Community Face Mask project

A team led by Rotary York Ainsty has been producing non-medical face masks to assist in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic - following UK Government guidelines.

 Face masks for the York community

ROTARY YORK AINSTY has been putting its experience and sewing skills to the test since April by making and distributing 4,500+ non-medical face masks for the use of the public in the city and surrounding areas and continuing during the current Covid-19 pandemic, thus following UK Government guidelines.

The masks were produced by members of the Rotary York Ainsty Yorkits team and associates, who would normally spend their time producing washable, re-useable, feminine hygiene kits for girls in developing countries, thus keeping the girls in education. Yorkits is one of the 'flagship’ projects of Rotary York Ainsty (RYA).

3,200+ masks produced by members of the Rotary team and 70+ York-based associates, were bulk distributed to more than eleven York-based charities, including The Salvation Army, Home-Start, Tang Hall Community Centre, City of York Housing Services, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Changing Lives, refugees in the City of Sanctuary scheme, IDAS, York Mind, Kyra Women's Project, SASH Nightstop, Anglical churches in York, York Foodbank and other church sponsored food banks, Lidgett Grove Methodist Church.

In addition, more than 800 masks have been made available to the public at pop-up  stalls in Poppleton, Askham Richard, Bishopthorpe, Copmanthorpe and Huntington.

The project ended in August after the initial target of 4,000 masks was 'breached'.

In total, more than 4,500 of the tri-layered fabric pleated masks have been produced. The face masks, which are washable (but not of medical grade), reusable and designed with full-mouth/nose/chin coverage to prevent individual wearers from spreading breath/cough/sneeze droplets when outside eg. in shops or in crowds.  Equally, the masks offer some protection for the wearer’s face from other people’s ‘droplets’. They have been produced in three sizes and were distributed in packs of two.

The masks were free at the point of delivery - all RYA asked is that people consider giving a donation through the JustGiving portal - This portal is still open for donations to RYA.

NOTE: This text and some of the attached photographs are copyright: Contact for permission to copy or utilise.

This initiative is just the latest in a long line of community-based projects undertaken by Rotary York Ainsty in the area. Others include help and support for Door 84, SpecSort, York Cancer Care Garden and many, many more. Details of any of these projects can be obtained from the contact details (below) or by accessing the RYA web pages...

"This project illustrates everything good at the heart of Rotary. We are harnessing the talents of Rotarians and our volunteer partners to provide a valuable service that benefits the whole community - and we have fun doing it,” said Rotary York Ainsty president 2020/21 Martin Simpson.

 BBC Radio York interview with Andrew Wordie

Rotary York Ainsty Face Mask project coordinator Andrew Wordie was interviewed by BBC Radio York regarding this important initiative. Hear the full interview by clicking HERE to take you to the file (held in Google Drive), then click on this file to play the clip.


York volunteer Michelle Joinson on 'cutting out' duties (click on image for a larger version)

RYA Rotarian Issy Sanderson and Ellie Stead get to grips with the all-important sewing of the face masks (click on image for a larger version) - Copyright photograph courtesy of Rotarian Stewart Gilbert

For more information on the Rotary York Ainsty face mask project
outreach 'pop-up' initiatives held in various York communities, click here


Rotary York Ainsty (RYA) forms part of District 1040 (Rotary in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire), a constituent part of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI). There are more than 100 Rotary clubs serving their communities in District 1040.

RIBI is a membership organisation where members use their talents and time to improve the lives of those less fortunate, both at home or abroad, while building friendships and ‘having fun’ in the process. 

Great Britain and Ireland are served by 1,800 Rotary clubs and around 50,000 members. Rotary International was founded in 1905 in Chicago and is now the world’s largest membership and international service organisation with more than 1.2 million members. There are clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas across the globe.

For further information, quotes, comments regarding this initiative, RYA in general or information as to how to join Rotary York Ainsty, contact Rotary York Ainsty club secretary Dick Powell on 01904 870443 /  07870 544448 or e-mail:


Contact Andrew Wordie about this page:

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(If you are a Rotarian, please name your club.)

Community Face Mask project sub-pages:

Rotarian Mike Rawnsley with the RYA Kiosk at the Copmanthorpe community outreach event.

Rotary outreach in the York community

more Rotary York Ainsty and its outreach 'pop-ups' take hand-crafted face masks to York communities