Face Shields Team Support ScrubHub – Leighton Park School

07 May 2020

The Leighton Park face shields initiative has taken the next step in providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS. Teaming up with the ScrubHub, a network of volunteer community groups who love to sew, Leighton Park has provided fabric for 250 sets of scrubs.

Director of Outreach and Partnerships at Leighton Park, Natasha Coccia, commented, “I am truly delighted that Leighton Park is continuing to build meaningful relationships with new partners such as ScrubHub. In the early stages of social distancing due to the pandemic, we thought it would be hard to forge any new relationships during this time-this couldn’t be further from the truth. Partnership working is stronger than ever locally, nationally, globally. It is a privilege to support the PPE campaigns of other organisations through fundraising and material supplies, whilst continuing to provide visors for frontline workers from our own workshop on the Park. We just want to help in any way we can.”

ScrubHub is a national organization with 118 groups sewing scrubs across England. The group local to Leighton Park is the South Oxfordshire and Berkshire ScrubHub run by Tina Hancock and Madeleine Steele, who were inspired by the activities of the original ScrubHub in Hackney Wick which they caught on social media. With Tina in charge of scrub orders, communications  and Madeleine overseeing the procurement of material, sewers and keeping quality control on target, the couple have quickly attracted enthusiastic sewers to support the cause. “We now have around 50 volunteers who have their own overlockers and are confident using them,” explained Tina, “but we have lots more people who have standard sewing machines and who are keen to get involved. They are focusing on making up scrub bags and masks.”

The scrubs are being provided to individual NHS workers in need within Woodley, Earley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Tilehurst, Reading, Caversham, Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames.  “We’ve had requests from healthcare workers as far away as Oxford in one direction and Wexham Park in another.” Continued Tina, “We’ve had orders from Royal Berkshire Hospital, John Radcliffe and Frimley Park Hospital including an order from a trainee nurse who needed scrubs in a different colour so that her colleagues could easily identify her qualification level yet without being able to see her through all the PPE. There was a doctor working in Newbury who called on a Friday because he was due to start work on a Covid ward on the Monday so we managed to get him some scrubs over the weekend.” We have been contacted by a Team working in Anaesthetics and Theatre who have requested scrub hats and bags.

The ScrubHub operation is currently organised into around 20 local groups, each with at least one scrub sewer and numerous scrub bag and mask sewers. The group leaders are visited on Thursdays by a member of our logistics team who drops off fabric and collects completed articles, returning them to HQ for distribution. The support from local businesses has been invaluable. The Blue Moose Graphics Company in Charvil printed our patterns to get us started.   Thorngate Upholstery in Woodley have made a huge contribution to the success of the operation using their electric cutting blade to cut out the scrubs in bulk. As have Berkshire Upholstery Services, Sonning who have cut scrubs by hand. “It’s a lot quicker now than our sending the patterns out to our sewers. It shows the willingness and the goodness of people wanting to help.” Said Tina, “People rally round. It’s a community effort and people are pulling together. I really like that.”

Although ScrubHub are conscious that the Government’s provision of PPE and their supply chains are beginning to come through they have no plans to slow down, in fact they are currently exploring the possibility of scrub hats and making masks for members of the public (for a suggested donation of £4 per mask). There are many organisations such as care homes and GP surgeries where scrubs are not usually worn but there is a huge demand, plus the danger of a second spike is ever-present. “Keeping people in PPE and keeping them safe is a real goal” reflected Tina, “The willingness of our volunteers to help has been impressive and in a small way allows us to show our appreciation of the NHS. Everyone is frightened of this situation in varying degrees but we are not putting ourselves in the danger than NHS workers are every day.”

Mark Smith, founder of the face shields initiative at Leighton Park School, enthused, “We are delighted that, due to the overwhelming generosity of donors to our GoFundMe page, not only have we been able to purchase enough material to successfully fulfil the incredible demand for thousands of face shields in our local area, we have also been able to support kindred PPE initiatives, such as the amazing ScrubHub group.”

If you are a keen sewer and would like to help make scrubs please contact Scrub-hub South Oxon and Berks on Facebook, or if you would like to make a donation to support their work please visit their GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/scrubhubsouthoxonandberks

Anyone requiring face shields to help keep staff in their organisation safe should contact faceshields@leightonpark.com


Image – Scrubs ready to go out


For further information on the relationship between ScrubHub and the Leighton Park School Face Shields initiative, please contact Emma Randall, Marketing Manager, via faceshields@leightonpark.com.

Updates are also being posted regularly on both of the groups’ social media channels:

Facebook: @leightonparkschool and @scrub-hub South Oxon and Berks (private group)

Twitter: @LPSchool #scrubhub