I hope you are all staying mentally and physically well during these unprecedented times. I know that personally and as an organization, we are really missing people. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do; a shared workspace is a lonely place during quarantine and isolation. We have lost income from outreach events and classes, and have suspended membership dues for those facing financial hardship. However, what keeps me going personally, is that now as much as ever Lynchburg needs our makerspace.
Despite the heartbreak of a nearly-empty community space, below are three essential ways that Vector Space is helping our community and our economy during COVID-19.
- Machinist job training. Our Women in Machining program is the only one of our many classes and programs still running during this time. As a service to provide job training for under-employed (and now several unemployed) individuals that typically do not have access to high-skill, well paid occupations, this program is now a lifeline for these students and their families. We are working with local employers, whose manufacturing facilities are essential, to place these women in open job positions once their training is complete.
- Revenue for entrepreneurs. For a number of our members, work completed at Vector Space is a source of revenue. Previous side-hustles are now the sole source of income for some families, and our facilities remain open to members using it to generate indispensable income.
- Supplies for our local medical professionals.
This week several local doctors and hospital workers have requested PPE (mainly face shields) and ventilator parts, that are now being produced at Vector Space. As our hospital workers prepare for the peak of COVID-19 cases in our area, we are here to produce equipment that is in short supply around the world. We will continue to provide the time, tools, and materials at our disposal to support the medical community during this time, including running machinery and prototyping parts (see header photos).
Please be assured that we are taking precautions and following CDC and government guidelines for public health, even as we continue to offer these essential services. We miss all of our hobby and part-time makers, and appreciate their continued support even as the makerspace is closed to them. If you are able to give financially at this time, it will have a tremendous impact on our ability to continue to serve our community now, and to help rebuild our local economy through culture, collaboration, and innovation when this pandemic is past.
Thank you, Lynchburg, and stay healthy,
Elise M. Spontarelli