SCRUBS FOR EPSOM & ST. HELIER
Caroline & Rachel
Rachel, Associate Director of Nursing - on the right
We can't thank the Scrubs for ESTH members enough for using their amazing talents to support us at such a challenging time. It made us feel so good to know that the local community was supporting us from afar and helping in practical ways too. We are so thankful.
When we were offered the scrubs, bags, hats and mask extenders from the ESTH Scrubs project, it was so welcome. One of the most important aspects of my role at the time of the first wave of the pandemic, was to support my 300 plus strong nursing team. As you can imagine they were scared of taking this unknown virus home to their loved ones. The bags, for their dirty uniforms meant they could literally put the whole lot straight into the washing machine, separate from other clothes, which gave them great relief. The hats were a godsend. At one point, there was information going round saying that Corona Virus stayed in your hair. My nurses worried that this would be another way of taking it home to their families. Having the hats made them feel that they could safely look after their patients without this worry and they loved the many varied styles and colours supplied. The mask extenders were amazing. We had to and continue to wear masks as soon as we get on site, which is quite hard on your ears after hours at a time. The mask extenders help to keep the masks tight and off the ears, relieving pressure damage.
Caroline - I got involved with the project in mid April when a friend mentioned she was cutting up an old curtain to make scrubs bags for Epsom hospital. I run my own business in the live events industry and as everything was shutting down it became clear I would have some spare time going into the summer.
I read up on the activities which were becoming a national initiative and joined my local Facebook group. I like sewing, I had fabric in the cupboard so decided to have a go at making the bags. Patterns were produced for the scrub hats so I had a go at those too, I really enjoyed making them as they were quite a bit more complex than the bags. My children helped to cut out and pin, my husband helped with the washing which sped up the process. It made us all feel that we were supporting the key workers. When I mentioned what I was doing to my sister Rachel, a senior nurse working in the Epsom and St Helier trust, she was keen to get some for her nurses so I connected her with the group. I made her a personal bag, hat and mask extender in her favourite colour, purple. I used bridesmaid fabric from our Mum's wedding, which I thought would be a nice memory during what was clearly an extremely demanding time for Rachel.
When the hospital started promoting the group through their social media and included photos of my sister receiving the items, I felt that it had come full circle. Me being a small part of the volunteer makers and Rachel being a key member of those who were benefitting. The Facebook group was great at supporting members in their sewing challenges, obtaining fabric and thread, giving updates on orders fulfilled, it was a happy team when life wasn't always positive. I enjoyed receiving bags of old cotton bedding and turning it into a new items in a few hours. That sense of "make do and mend" was part of the positive drive to make something better. I contributed almost 100 hats and more than 20 bags to the project.
I also knitted mask extenders, receiving hundreds of donated buttons from my neighbours to sew onto them. I took the opportunity to teach my 17 year old daughter, who had lost her summer of fun, to knit. It was a nice activity to do together and we completed over 100 pieces. When we had finished bags, hats and extenders we would walk to our local drop off point as part of our daily exercise … so we all benefitted