SCRUBS FOR EPSOM & ST. HELIER
Jill & Clare
Jill, on the left - I am the Treasurer of Bookham Butterflies WI and as a keen crafter I also run the craft group. We call it 'Craft with a Heart' as we like to make items that can be donated to or sold to raise money for charity
At the end of March a member of the group told me a local lady wanted laundry bags for the staff at Epsom Hospital. I emailed the group asking them to make a few and make they did, within a week we had over 100 ! The local lady was overwhelmed and suggested we join the ‘Scrubs for Epsom & Helier’ Facebook group. I knew that many of our WI members don't do Facebook and were unlikely to engage with that group, so I decided it would be better to ask them directly for help. We are a fairly young WI but there are other WI's in the area with a much higher average age and crucially lots of ladies with sewing skills that also ‘don't do Facebook’. It was clear there was a huge pool of untapped talent so I became the conduit. A few weeks in and my house was piled high with donated fabric, so I asked my neighbour, a scout leader, if we could use the hut to store the fabric. The Scouts were delighted to be able to help. I spent nearly every day, from early April until the end of August, in the 1st Fetcham Scout Hut.
Word spread to lots of other community groups such as the Mole Valley Quilters, Bookham and Ashtead U3A's and all the local WI's. Over the months I had a steady stream of emails from people saying a friend had told them what we were doing and could they help. Over 100 people from our village and nearby made over 3,000 items.
Clare, pictured with me, is the President of our WI. When she realised how much work was to be done, she pitched in. We spent weeks sorting fabric, cutting out pattern pieces, trying our best to be ‘socially distanced’ from each other and all the sewers who came in to collected packs of cut pattern pieces to make up.
People kept saying I did a great job but I couldn’t have done anything without all those lovely people slaving away at their sewing machines, crochet hooks and knitting needles, doing the actual making. Many people said it really helped them to have something meaningful to do during lockdown. I am so proud of all we achieved. The way the community came together to do whatever they could to help. Some people made a few items, some made lots but every item had love sewn into it.
Clare The PPE provision led by Jill is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when our local community pulls together.