At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, many frontline NHS staff were finding themselves without the protective clothing they need to safely do their jobs due to the volume of patients with Covid-19. To help tackle the problem, thousands of volunteers across the UK got behind their sewing machines and to make hospital overalls – known as scrubs – for frontline workers.
In excess of 50 ‘scrub hubs’ have been set up across the country, with smaller community groups feeding into them. Each group works independently, initially relying on donated fabric, including repurposed bedding, with volunteers giving their skills, expertise and time to make hospital workwear for people who need them.
Grounded from travel and with plenty of spare time on my hands in the evenings and weekends, Jo Ainsworth, Export Director for Waterco, volunteered to join her local ‘scrub hub’ which was set up at the height of the pandemic. “I could not begin to imagine what our frontline NHS workers were going through and wanted to do something to help,” Jo explains. “So I dusted off my sewing machine that has been in the attic for the last 15 years.” Since her local group was created in early April, Jo has personally made 40 scrubs sets – no mean feat as each set is estimated to take three to four hours.
Jo used the offcuts to make laundry bags and face masks, all of which have been donated to the various NHS community hospitals across her Gloucestershire region Jo adds: “It has been great to receive positive feedback from the various hospitals and trusts who have requested and received donations from our group.”