Retired construction worker Keith Bates and his family wanted to help the NHS as it tackled the Covid-19 pandemic. So when they heard demand for scrubs has risen at our hospitals, they bought some fabric expecting to be able to make around 120 sets.
Then they used social media to appeal for volunteers to help with turning the fabric into scrubs – and little did they know how much it was going to grow – culminating in 8,000 sets to date donated for our staff caring for patients at Queen’s and King George hospitals.
In only the first two days of their appeal, over 1,000 volunteers came forward. Not only did they want to lend their skills to making scrubs, many people and local organisations wanted to donate money –allowing them to make thousands more than planned.
Donations were so generous they set up their own JustGiving page to raise money for the King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity – with donations currently standing at £52,000.
Lynda Head, Head of Fundraising at our charity, said: “What Keith and his family have done for us took our breath away – it just shows how much the NHS, and our hospitals, mean to our local communities that everyone has been so keen to get involved.
“Thank you so much to every volunteer who has supported this appeal, from those who donated money, to those who sewed the scrubs, and those in the many other roles who have all played their part. And especially thanks to Keith and his family for starting the entire operation.”
They now have around 3,000 volunteers working with them, from teenagers to pensioners, all doing their bit to support their local hospitals when they need it most. Their operation has grown so large volunteers aren’t only doing the sewing, they’re now needed for a number of roles including drivers and coordinators.
They’ve even been lucky to work with volunteers in the fabric trade which ensured they could have their material professionally cut to reduce waste. Volunteers sewing the scrubs have been supported with written instructions and a YouTube video – each pair of scrubs is then quality checked before being delivered to the hospitals.
Their appeal has been so successful, they’ve even been able to donate scrubs to other hospital trusts.
Keith said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is probably the biggest medical emergency of my lifetime. The continued impact of lockdown could potentially lead to other wellbeing and mental health issues.
“Being part of a group like ours allows people to feel they are doing something and we’ve had lots of positive feedback from our volunteers. The hospitals are getting the scrubs they need and the volunteers are maintaining their wellbeing – it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”