New office opens
Breathe Easy expands as clear mask demand grows
Gavin McAdam and Rodney Mountain at the launch of Breathe Easy’s new office (pic: Terry Murden)
A company which has developed clear face masks for the hard of hearing has moved to bigger premises to cope with rising demand.
Breathe Easy has relocated its headquarters to St John’s Road in Edinburgh, where it houses a team of about a dozen, including tailors and seamstresses.
The expansion comes after the business received £50,000 from Scottish Enterprise’s Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.
The funding will help accelerate production of face coverings for various sectors including care organisations, NHS trusts and the medical environment.
Having struck a partnership with a local supplier able to provide large quantities of high-quality medical grade 100% supima cotton, Breathe Easy is focused on taking the product quality to the next level.
With face masks now mandatory in shops and on public transport in Scotland, owner Gavin McAdam is now looking to substantially increase volumes as demand continues to rise.
He said: “We have exciting times ahead of us as a growing organisation, everyone has worked extremely hard to make this happen.
“This move will not only give the design team dedicated space to develop our pipeline of new products but also provide much-needed visibility for the retail team with the premises being located in a prime spot on the very busy St John’s Road.’’
Rodney Mountain, an ear, nose and throat consultant at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and NHS Tayside’s Lead for Healthcare Design and Innovation, has been working closely with Breathe Easy on the latest advances in face masks for the deaf community. He said: “Face coverings are an essential part of the fight to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“They do, however, make communication between people more difficult. People’s voice volumes are reduced and become rather muffled. The face coverings also prevent the ability to lip read, an essential need for people who are hard of hearing.
“This is where the see-through face coverings can make a big difference. They improve the way we communicate with each other, particularly with people who are disabled by a loss of hearing.”
Philip Gerrard, CEO at Deaf Action, threw his support behind Breathe Easy.
This is an excellent example of a local business driving forward with a ground-breaking product– Fiona Hyslop, Economy Secretary
“We are pleased to see initiatives set up to provide clear masks to those who need them,” he said.
“Many deaf people rely on lipreading to communicate, and normal face coverings can create many barriers in everyday conversation.
“We’re now calling on the Scottish Government to commission clear masks for all and make these coverings available for use in medical settings and by members of the public as soon as possible.”
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop praised Breathe Easy for its development of the face masks for lip-readers, saying: “This is an excellent example of a local business driving forward with a ground-breaking product and playing a key role helping keep people safe.”
Breathe Easy has been working with charities such as Deaf Action, National Deaf Children’s Society (Scotland), Steps To Hope, Visualise Scotland and Positive Pathways. Many charities in England have also been in touch enquiring about potential partnerships
Livingston mall staff wear Breathe Easy masks
Staff at one of Scotland’s largest indoor shopping malls, The Centre, Livingston, will be wearing lip reading masks designed by Breathe Easy when shoppers return next week.
Patrick Robbertze, centre director, said: “It has been great working with Breathe Easy to ensure our team have a face covering which will allow those who are hard of hearing to feel even more included when they visit.
“This also allows us to welcome our shoppers with a friendly smile as customer service has always been our primary focus.”
Mr McAdam said: “I’m delighted to be able to provide my lip reading masks to the staff at The Centre, Livingston.
“It has been great opportunity to be able to provide these to a shopping centre which will definitely help visitors who are hard of hearing to feel safe and more included.”