Old Verlucian, Rhiannon Betts and her mother Naomi have started a nationwide intiative to create free cotton face coverings for everyone who needs one – and now we have our very own Warminster Community Mask tree in Vicarage Street.

When school classes went online after the Easter holidays, Prep School teaching assistant Anna Sessarego-Mercer saw an opportunity to join a community project making cotton face coverings. Anna said “I'd made masks for friends and family, but Rhiannon's project made me realise just how many masks were going to be needed. And everyone should have access to them: not everyone in Warminster might have the funds to buy one. This felt like a valuable contribution I could make, so I leapt at the chance when the school suggested I put a temporary tree in a pot on the pavement outside Old Vicarage.” 

Makers simply offer out as many masks as they feel able to create and give away, and hang them on a tree or other structure for passers-by to help themselves. Each tree has a Go Fund Me account attached to it, so that if recipients can contribute to cover the costs of their mask, they can give safely online. “The donors have been really generous already and we've only had the tree out once. We're going to give the surplus funds to Alzheimer's Support, which runs The Old Silk Works day club for people in Warminster with Alzheimer's Disease. Prep pupils have had so much fun visiting the day club members there this year.”

The Vicarage Street tree is put out and stocked on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It can be found in the gateway of the Old Vicarage boarding house. If you'd be interested in hosting or helping to stock a tree, Rhiannon and Naomi's organisation has an active presence on Facebook: search for Community Mask Trees.

What a great initiative!