AN ARMY of volunteers across Stroud are giving their time and skills to create hundreds of pairs of scrubs for hospital workers.
Scrubs are medical protective clothing which help to keep cross-contamination to a minimum.
They are currently in high demand and short supply as healthcare staff continue to support patients in the fight against coronavirus.
But thanks to the efforts of a self-funded group of dressmakers, quilters and seamstresses, Gloucestershire‘s NHS frontline staff are set to receive hundreds of pairs of scrubs, plus hats and laundry bags, to see them through this difficult time.
Inspired by similar initiatives popping up across the country, the Gloucestershire Sewing for the NHS Facebook group was set up two weeks ago by Jaycee Thom and Julanne McIntyre to try and coordinate a community effort to sew scrubs for the county’s hospitals, GPs and care homes.
Chrissie Lowery joined the group not long after that and she now coordinates the Stroud team, as well as being in charge of registration, fabrics and funding.
The initiative is now well underway, with members organising deliveries of materials and patterns to drop off at people’s doors – all while adhering to social distancing measures.
“The response has been amazing and we have over 300 sewers registered with us, but we still need more,” said Chrissie.
“We desperately need funding too, so we can order more fabric.
“We’re starting to run out of fabric – we’ve used 1,000 metres in a week- but I’m expecting another delivery today.”
The group currently has an order for 1,700 sets of scrubs for Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham Hospital, plus more are needed for community healthcare workers.
Stroud seamstress Martha Van Der Laan got involved with the project ten days ago because she felt a need to do something positive.
Martha ordinarily runs sewing courses in her garden studio in Uplands, but had to cancel all her classes due to the lockdown.
“I was a little bit lost,” she said.
“I didn’t know what to do and I felt so useless. I really wanted to help.”
As soon as she heard about the work of the Gloucestershire Sewing for the NHS group, she signed herself up.
And to get access to enough fabric to get started, Martha approached Jackie Hall, owner of Stroud haberdashery shop, Sew and So. Even though the shop is closed at the moment, Jackie donated 40 metres of fabric, plus thread, and tape for the drawstring trousers.
Martha then enlisted the services of her two teenage daughters, Ava Dann, 17 and Luca Dann, 14, as well.
“I taught them to sew from when they were five or six years old,” she said.
“I said ‘Come on, we’re going to sew all day. Let’s get some music on, make cups of tea, and start sewing’.
“I’m so pleased I can be of use to all the people working on the front line.”
To get involved in sewing with Gloucestershire Sewing for the NHS, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And to donate towards the cost of more fabric, visit: bit.ly/34nLDMD