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Scrapstore Volunteers sew for the NHS

Work and Play Scrapstore has taken the government’s plea to heart, to Stay Home, Save Lives and Protect the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic, by galvanising its members and volunteers to sew urgently-needed scrubs for hospitals across South London.

Scrapstore Trustee Gill Upton started making facemasks for Mildmay Hospital in Shoreditch in March, then together with Scrapstore member Sarah Trindle joined the burgeoning Dulwich Scrubbers group in early April busy sewing scrubs for Kings Hospital. Sarah and Gill formed the Wandsworth branch and the grouping morphed into South London Scrubbers.

Since then, St George’s, St Christopher’s, Lewisham Covid-19 ward and Trinity Hospice have joined the list of hospitals requesting garments. Demand is huge, for large numbers of scrubs, scrub washbags, scrub hats, facemasks and patient garments as each day NHS staff struggle to find enough to wear. Mayor of Wandsworth - Cllr Jane Cooper - is also supporting South London Scrubbers.

Scrapstore volunteers Lucy, Audrey, Jane, Teresa and Gill plus Scrapstore members Sarah Trindle and Copperbird Jewellery, are all busy doing their bit for South London Scrubbers and the NHS. Scrub sets are arriving at hospitals with personalised messages. For example, Lucy embroiders a heart on hers and uses ‘Thank you NHS’ tape in the neckline. Sarah Trindle made a personalised set of scrubs for one nurse, Ruth, with the words ‘Ruth rocks’ on the pocket. Needless to say the hospitals are extremely grateful.

A PayPal fundraiser has raised £11,200 in the last ten days to buy the fabric, thread, elastic and so on. To date South London Scrubbers has purchased 2km worth of the poly/cotton required for the scrubs, while duvets, sheets and curtains have been re-purposed for the scrub bags and patient gowns.

It is a slick operation, using the talents of tailor Ian Costello to cut the fabric electronically to reduce wastage, the little black book of costume designer Jack Galloway to source and collect fabric from the likes of Chatham & Glynn, companies such as Snappy Snaps and White Light to print the sewing patterns, non-sewers to deliver the cut fabric and finished garments and, of course, the army of over 100 women busy with their sewing machines.

For many it is also a family affair: with husbands measuring and ironing, sons sticking together patterns in the early days or threading ties into washbags.

What an amazing response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Work and Play Scrapstore is very glad to play their part.

If you would like to help South London Scrubbers do more, donate on the Paypal page:

See updates on: instagram @south_london_scrubbers

Listen to WaPS Trustee Gill speaking about South London Scrubbers on BBC London Radio:

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