Ashington’s new Scrub Hub is ready for orders and urging South East Northumberland’s NHS and care workers to get in touch if they are in urgent need of protective equipment.
The group – one of more than 120 now set up in the UK – is made up of professional and hobby clothes makers who are desperate to help staff working on the front line during the coronavirus epidemic.
It is led by Kate Dawson, founder of Ashington-based The All-in-One Company, who has brought together some of her professional machinists as well as volunteers from Age UK Northumberland.
All scrubs are provided free to health and care workers. They need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make an order. Kate is still looking for more volunteers. They should get in touch through www.facebook.com/ScrubsAshington/
“We also need more donations,” she said. “A hundred metres of fabric costs around £120 and makes about 30 sets of scrubs.” Donations pay for material and petrol money for deliveries.
Kate contacted the government in the early stages of the crisis when reports began emerging about a shortage of equipment to protect front line workers.
“I had to fill in a form which was sent to the Cabinet Office, but I heard absolutely nothing. So you’re sat there thinking you want to help and hearing on the news that people are dying left, right and centre because they haven’t got protection. It was really frustrating when we have a factory full of sewing machines and incredibly experienced and capable staff,” she said.
She has still not received a response, but in the meantime answered a rallying call from Kate Hills, the founder of Make it British which supports and promotes the UK’s manufacturing businesses.
With her help, alongside advice from David Reay at the Northern Clothing and Textile Network and a large delivery of fabric from one of The All-in-One Company’s suppliers, Scrub Hub Ashington is now up and running. It is the sixth Scrub Hub group in the North East.
Kate believes the current team is capable of making around 100 sets of scrubs per week, and many more if additional volunteers come forward.
She says the experience of setting up The All-in-One Company from scratch in 2008 has helped her create a simple but efficient production model.
“I will take the patterns and fabric to Bean Bag Bazaar for cutting, pick it up and drop off at our volunteers for sewing. Then pick up the finished scrubs and deliver to the people who need them,” she said.
“It’s still hard to believe how coronavirus has had such an impact across the world. But, despite this nightmare, there have been positives. Nurses, doctors and care workers have shown such bravery and – despite lock down – communities have found ways to come together to give them the support they deserve. I am very proud to be part of a group determined to do just that.”
Amy Whyte, head of charitable services at Age UK Northumberland said: “Through the use of Age UK Northumberland’s social media and our extensive contacts across the region we have been actively supporting Scrub Hub Ashington, finding volunteers to make much needed PPE with the support of The All-in-One Company.
“There are so many worthy causes for any PPE that can be made and/or donated. The NHS, who are doing a wonderful job, obviously has an immediate need. So do our carers who are out and about in the communities of the county, supporting older people remain safely in their own homes.
“We are delighted that Scrub Hub Ashington has been set up and that we will be one of the beneficiaries. This will allow our carers to deliver our much needed care, continuing to take all the necessary steps to keep themselves and our clients healthy.”