A Stitch in Time to Save Lives in Front Line Pandemic Battle

The ‘make do and mend’ spirit is coming to the fore in the battle against the coronavirus thanks to a community initiative aimed at offering direct help to NHS workers on the front line.

It takes the form of a new group called Warwickshire Scrubbers which has expanded quickly to beyond 1,400 members, ranging from 10-year-olds working on sewing projects through to retired seamstresses, fashion sewers and lots of older shielding ladies who are relishing the chance to ‘give back’. They are all working to make scrubs, scrub caps, headbands and laundry bags, and distributing them to hospital teams across the county.

This comes following a requirement for staff to wear scrubs instead of their usual uniform due to pandemic guidelines.

Deliveries of thousands of items are being made to Warwick Hospital as well as St Cross in Rugby, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire as well as Harbury and Chase Meadow and other GP Surgeries which have received scrubs packs.

For those not handy with a needle, there are plenty of other roles they can play such as driving to help with non-contact deliveries and collections.

Coordinator for the Hatton and Warwick area, Rachel Booth, said, “We can see this huge need to protect the NHS and healthcare workforce and this was a way we as sewers, fabric artists and small craft businesses can contribute. We are also being helped out by bigger businesses with fabric at great prices or donated, printing patterns, fundraising donations or fabric cutting en masse. Everyone can help.

“I have been amazed at the responses we have had from people, especially those being shielded wanting to do something to help. The desire to assist the NHS to keep staff safe and save lives is very strong. It’s giving people purpose at a very strange time where we have had a lot of structure taken away from us – jobs, business, schools, shopping, etc.

“This is community spirit in action at a difficult time. People really are being amazing in their support. The demand is huge, but we will continue making these things for as long as we need to.”

Online fundraising appeals are also running alongside the practical support, already raising more than £11,000 so far to help meet costs of materials in the Coventry and South Warwickshire areas.

Abigail Sheridan de Graaff, who is helping to coordinate the South Warwickshire appeal, said, “Due to Covid-19 a lot more scrubs are being required than usual. South Warwickshire Foundation Trust is trying to get three sets of scrubs per staff member.

“We have plenty of people who are willing to make scrubs but there is a cost involved to cover materials, printing patterns and distribution of resources. Any money raised goes solely towards helping make items required by staff in the NHS hospitals and other frontline healthcare providers.

“Any donations, big or small, are greatly appreciated and will make a really big difference to the daily lives of the NHS and other healthcare staff.”

To find out more about how to help email Rachel at: rachel@creativestamper.co.uk. Fundraising has been so successful we have now closed the appeals, but are still happy to see experienced sewers, drivers and other assistance.