Coventry teachers sewing scrubs for NHS

Two Coventry teachers have dusted down their sewing machines to make uniforms for frontline medics at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.

Two Coventry College teachers have dusted down their sewing machines to boost the number of clean uniforms available to frontline medics during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Laura Johnson and her Coventry College colleague Charlotte Stacey have joined the Facebook group ‘Warwickshire Scrubbers’ – a group for sewers and their helpers who are creating scrubs, as well as scrub bags and caps, to meet demand from local hospitals.

The duo are sewing the uniforms using their own fabrics – which include tops and trousers – using pre-cut templates, and are also appealing for more donations of clean fabrics such as duvet and pillow covers that can be used to make scrub bags.

So far, Laura and Charlotte have made ten scrub uniforms between them in just under two weeks.

Laura’s uniforms are being distributed to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), while Charlotte’s uniforms are being sent to hospitals in Birmingham. 

Laura, who is a curriculum manager for the digital and creative departments at Coventry College, said: “I am a novice sewer and had been doing it anyway with my mum to pass some of my spare time while in lockdown.

“Charlotte was already making scrubs via a sewing hub for hospitals in Birmingham and when she alerted me to this I searched for a local hub in Coventry. I found Warwickshire scrubbers on Facebook and it went from there.

“Sewing hubs are a great way of connecting volunteer sewers with healthcare professionals who need more PPE such as uniforms, hats, and masks. These Facebook groups are all run by volunteers in the community and I’ve seen how hard they are working to make a difference to their local NHS workers.

“Over the past fortnight I have managed to personally make five scrub uniforms and 20 scrub bags with the help of my mum – it’s pretty hard work as it can take the best part of a day to make one uniform for a novice sewer – but I love it as I’m learning a new skill while knowing I am making a difference.

“The uniform bags that we are making are really important, as the uniforms will stay in the bag until they have been washed at home – helping to minimise the spread of any germs they may pick up while at work.

“Both myself and Charlotte are supporting each other from afar, and we don’t plan on stopping as long as there is demand!

“I know that the Warwickshire Scrubbers group is searching for more clean fabrics so we can make more uniforms and bags – so if you can help with any spare clean bedding, or if you’re able to put your sewing machine to use, please get in touch with the group on Facebook.”

Gemma Knott, Assistant Principal for Business Growth at Coventry College, added: “This is such a kind-hearted gesture from Laura and Charlotte – we’re so proud of both of them for going above and beyond.

“It’s just another great example of the role that the College is playing in the wider community as part of the drive to fight the COVID-19 pandemic – we have also had students shaving their heads to raise money for PPE equipment, through to our CEO becoming an NHS volunteer and some of our health and social care students volunteering in the local community.”

For those wanting to donate fabric or make uniforms, search for “Warwickshire Scrubbers” on Facebook.