Community rallies round to sew scrubs for Ipswich Hospital

People have volunteered to sew, cut patterns and drive to fetch materials

People have volunteered to sew, cut patterns and drive to fetch materials - Credit: Adriana Watson

A local community of keen sewers are volunteering their time and skills to create hundreds of extra pairs of scrubs for hospital workers

The group hopes to sew 400 sets of scrubs

The group hopes to sew 400 sets of scrubs - Credit: Adriana Watson

Nursing scrubs are in high demand and short supply as hospitals around the country continue to fight coronavirus. But thanks to the efforts of a local sewing community, Ipswich Hospital is set to receive hundreds of extra pairs of scrubs to see nurses through this difficult time.

Inspired by similar initiatives popping up around the world, hospital administrative worker Adriana Watson decided to set up a Facebook group to try to coordinate a community effort to sew scrubs for Ipswich Hospital. The response she had was simply phenomenal, with the Facebook group reaching 400 members in under a week. 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, of course.

One of the new sets of scrubs

One of the new sets of scrubs - Credit: Adriana Watson

“I realised that there was a need for a coordinated sewing effort in Ipswich,” says Adriana. “There are so many members of staff who are going to be working on Covid wards, as hospitals are moving staff from some areas to others. Specialist nurses are becoming ward nurses, so the number of people wearing scrubs is going to rise. This project is a way to show appreciation for my colleagues, as I’m just humbled by what I see every day.”

The Facebook Group has been flooded with offers of help, with some volunteering their sewing skills, and others volunteering to drive in order to pick up fabric orders and drop materials off at sewers’ houses. Meanwhile, their JustGiving page raised over £3000 in just 3 days, allowing the team to start bulk-buying fabric for their sewers.

“It’s really great as we are playing to people’s strengths,” says Adriana. “Even if someone can’t sew, they can offer to drive or to cut patterns. People’s lives are really abnormal at the moment, and this is helping to give people a real sense of purpose, I think. This isolation thing can play havoc with people’s mental health, and this has shown a really positive side to social media in the sense that it’s brought us all together to do something good.”

Claire Croome is one of the many local volunteers who have offered up their time and sewing skills to this good cause. She recently set up a support group for her local neighbourhood, which involved collecting phone numbers and setting up a Whatsapp group to organise ways of helping people who can’t leave the house at present, or who might not be on Facebook. When Claire saw the ‘Sew Scrubs for Ipswich Hospital’ Facebook group, she sent a message around to her community group, so those sewers who aren’t on Facebook could also get involved and lend a hand.

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“I lost my husband to cancer about ten years ago now, and I spent a lot of time in hospital with him while he was having treatment. In a way, this helps me to show my appreciation for all of the NHS staff who helped us at that time. Many, many people will have similar stories to me and will want to give something back to NHS workers at this time. It also helps people who are feeling a bit shut in, as it gives them a purpose and something worthwhile to do with their time.”

The group has already had an enquiry from a local GP practise that is in need of scrubs, and are well on their way to their 400-scrubs target.

If you’d like to get involved, visit the Facebook Group. You can also donate to the initiative via the JustGiving page, which you can find here.