Hundreds of volunteers in Cumbria sew PPE for health workers

One woman's idea to help the NHS through the Covid-19 pandemic has snowballed into a network of hundreds of volunteers sewing scrubs for carers on the front line.

The North West Cumbria Scrub Hub is now making and distributing protective clothing around the county.

The group was set up by Sellafield worker Claire Riley and has since attracted hundreds of helpers through social media platforms.

More than 300 people have come together to sew scrubs, headbands and bags for dirty clothing to be put into before washing.

Claire explained: "I'm delighted at the response we've had to this. I know that I was not coping particularly well with what's going on at the moment and it was easy to feel down about the situation.

"But this has given so many people a new focus of attention and a feeling that they are doing something practical to help.

"There are quite a few of our sewers who are shielding so it's helped them too through the creation of new friends and links and so they feel less isolated.

"Of course, it's ultimately about getting the scrubs to those who need them."

  • Ashley Hinchcliffe, Scrub Hub volunteer.

The cut scrubs are delivered to the army of sewers before they are transported to those who need them most. They have received orders from NHS staff members, some GP practices and care homes.

More than 300 people have come together to sew scrubs, headbands and scrub bags. Credit: ITV News

Rev Julia Powley, Priest in Charge of Harrington and Distington, has also been offering her help by sewing scrubs bags. She has also provided up to 50 face masks for a similar initiative in west Cumbria.

She explained: "This has been a practical way in which I can give something back to our NHS. I know that there's been a surge of volunteers who have come forward to help and I'm sure that they are all doing it for the same reason.

"It's also about being able to help personally. I know of one person who is autistic and is afraid of masks so I was asked to make one out of Thomas the Tank Engine material because they love the stories. It's just another way to help."

  • The Scrub Hub has set up a new website. NHS staff and frontline workers are able to order for free, though donations are welcomed.