One project which has been a focus for many Rotary clubs during COVID-19, has been providing scrubs for frontline health workers.
In north-west London, Edgware & Stanmore Rotary has been working with its local community to provide personal protective equipment in the area.
Selwyn Foreman has been at the heart of the project. “In April, it became clear that those hospices were not getting the Personal Protective Equipment they needed for the safety of their nurses and doctors,” he said.
“So with the help of our Neighbourhood Watch and the Rotary Club of Edgware & Stanmore I decided to do something about it.”
Within hours, Selwyn had gathered together a driver, a sewer with an overlocking sewing machine, a garment manufacturer and a graphic designer all wanting to help.
They contacted St Luke’s, the Peace Hospice in Watford and the Michael Sobell Hospice in Northwood, Middlesex to establish their requirement for scrubs.
“We contacted a local scrub hub, one of the many teams of seamstresses making scrubs for NHS hospitals; but they were all too busy to extend their work,” explained Selwyn.
“A ton of calls elicited a fabric cutting resource and a couple of contacts who could connect us with furloughed garment warehouses with material that we could use.
Edgware & Stanmore manufacturing and supplying Scrubs to St Lukes Hospice pic.twitter.com/DLKaEd3Fk9
— D1130 DG (@D1130DG) May 6, 2020
“Further phone-calls and contact to Rotary members throughout the capital set off responses from a stream of people, so that messages were coming in from seamstresses all over north-west London and south Hertfordshire, all wanting to help.
“We even managed to recruit an experienced quality controller to check all our finished scrub sets.”
Selwyn explained how they soon realised they needed the right material to meet NHS standards – colour-fast up to 60 degrees centigrade, with a weight above 115 grams per square metre.
The smiles on the faces of Ursula Reeve and Carol Weston, the nursing directors at the hospices, made it all worthwhile.”
The design template for the two-piece outfit in six sizes was borrowed from another scrub-hub, and once a pilot was run successfully to test the design and output quality, they were ready to take orders.
“Routing schedules for the collection and delivery of fabric and finished goods between warehouses, cutters, sewers and hospices, all complying with social distancing, was quite a challenge,” reflected Selwyn.
“But the smiles on the faces of Ursula Reeve and Carol Weston, the nursing directors at the hospices, made it all worthwhile.
“Hundreds of scrubs were secured, and thousands of pounds saved for this Cinderella of the nation’s care system.
“We were so pleased we could do something at this incredible time to help; two hundred sets of scrubs, all using volunteers and material donations.”