Throughout our lockdown, people from all over Coventry and Warwickshire started to think about ways they could give something back and help within their communities. We put a plea out to hear from those people around the area who have been sewing tirelessly in an effort to provide scrub bags and headbands for NHS workers on the frontline.

Here are several stories from local people who have worked their little socks off in a tremendous effort:

Roz Martin (Roro’s Homemade Crafts & Gifts)

Back in April, I spoke to a friend to see how she was, a trauma nurse in the midst of this Pandemic. I wanted to check she was safe and as well as can be, and whilst talking she told me that the UHCW needed scrub bags, and this is where it all began!

I work from home around my 3 boys with additional needs and have a supporting husband who helps me. We had got them into a little routine, in the evenings crafting is my down time, it’s good for me and my sanity, helps me to relax and takes me away from the worries and stresses of life, especially worrying about family and friends during the Covid-19 crisis. So I offered to assist her and make it my mission to provide the hospital with scrub bags and headbands to prevent the poor nurses and doctors getting very sore ears, in the current situation it was the least I could do.

I put a plea out to the local community of Cheylesmore for pillowcases and was overwhelmed with the response. I received at least 150 and neighbours washed them for me keeping to social distancing guidelines. I had put a personal request out to friends, and some also offered to help sew, along with my Mum, Jacqui Hannan, another local small craft business (Made and Personalised) and Noreen Parveen. For myself and Noreen, the NHS has saved our children, and this was our way of giving a little back, by helping to try and protect them and their families.

We all supported each other and made a great team. By then my sister (Love and Cuddle Keepsakes) had been contacted to make 100 headbands for a local Care Home. And so, the ladies of Keep on Sewing Retreat Coventry (KOS), Pam Neave and the ladies of Bell Green Craft Club (BGCC) also joined forces on a mission to try and protect as many as we could.

At the time of writing this article, Jacqui, Noreen and I have turned around over 300 scrub bags in just 15 days, using our sewing machines, washing machines and irons nonstop. Headbands were all distributed to various places, to UHCW, Care Homes, Police, Specsavers, Community Nurses and Midwives all playing vital roles. As have the girls of KOS and BGCC who have also made 100s of scrub bags, headbands, mask extenders, facemasks, and scrubs.

I also started to record tutorials and posting on local Facebook groups to encourage other sewers to dust those machines off and help us, which was really successful and had a good few also making for their local care homes, they just needed to be shown how easy it was to do and be given the confidence to achieve it. Sewing is so good for mental health and this gave us the drive and determination to get up, keep going and keep our minds busy and focused.

We have to say that Dunelm have been incredible, delivering supplies that we needed safely to our doors. We thank you and think the donations for those who need them has been fantastic. They have donated hundreds across Coventry, the community Facebook page for Dunelm has been wonderful and everyone supports each other, it just shows that we are truly all in this together.

Joanne Rouse

I am a Learning Mentor at Henley Green Primary School. The school has been closed and I have had some extra time on my hands. I also have my own fused glass business and have been using my workshop as my sewing room.

At this time of year, I am usually getting ready to make dancing costumes for my daughter’s dance show, but I saw a post on Facebook from Warwickshire Scrubbers asking for donations of material and for help making scrubs for NHS workers.

I started by making four sets out of some fabric I had at home and by downloading and sellotaping a pattern together. I then asked on Facebook for donations of fabric, and I was given tablecloths, duvets and sheets from local people.

The Warwickshire Scrubbers have also bought fabric which they have been able to distribute to sewers. I have received some of this fabric too and at the time of writing this article I have made 31 sets. The Coventry and Rugby sewers have supplied over 800 scrubs following a request for 1010 sets of scrubs. They have also supplied uniform wash bags, headbands & scrub hats which have been taken to UHCW, other hospitals, pharmacies, GP hubs, etc.

One nurse said that when she put on a set of handmade scrubs, she felt like she was being hugged, and it has been so lovely to be a part of this.

Debbie Barber

I have quite a few friends who are nurses and care assistants and my closest friend works in a mental health clinic.

I had heard that hospitals, care homes, etc, were in need of scrub bags, and I wanted these NHS and key workers to know that they were appreciated and thought about, so I started to sew, and I made just over 100 scrub bags.

It has been lovely to feel that I am doing something to help!