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Army of volunteers comes together to make scrubs for healthcare workers

Since March, NI Scrubs have made 22,000 sets of scrubs as well as 19,000 scrubs bags and face masks.

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Clara Maybin from NI Scrubs in Dungannon (Cate McCurry/PA)

Clara Maybin from NI Scrubs in Dungannon (Cate McCurry/PA)

Clara Maybin from NI Scrubs in Dungannon (Cate McCurry/PA)

An army of volunteers has come together to make scrubs for healthcare workers in Northern Ireland.

Thousands of people are working around-the-clock to ensure that medical staff have enough suitable clothing to wear in their fight against Covid-19.

Since March, NI Scrubs have made 22,000 sets of scrubs as well as 19,000 scrubs bags and face masks.

Clara Maybin, from Co Tyrone, who helps lead the large team of volunteers, came up with the idea after a relative highlighted the lack of medical uniforms in Northern Ireland’s hospitals.

Clara used her skills from her digital marketing job to appeal for help.

“I put out a plea on social media and I started to gather second-hand scrubs from dentists and Botox nurses. I drove around the country lifting second-hands scrubs,” Ms Maybin said.

“Then a lot of people got in contact with me to say they could sew, so I contacted a company in Omagh who donated two rolls of fabric and I gathered up a couple of people who could sew.

“Overnight we had 80 people in the group and then within a week it jumped to 800 and now we have 8,500 people in Northern Ireland sewing, cutting, stitching, delivering, driving and doing various aspects.

“It’s been crazy but brilliant.

“People are working 18 hours a day, answering questions on Facebook, taking orders, so it’s full-scale but all voluntary.”

The scrubs are going out to hospitals, nursing homes, Covid-19 testing centres and some health trusts.

The volunteers are enjoying this and it's helping their mental health as it's giving them something to get up in the morning forOrganiser Clara Maybin

The various groups across Northern Ireland have raised a total £70,000 which has been spent on buying suitable fabric for those sewing to use.

“We’re working on a 10 to 14-day lead time because we were getting so many orders but now it has slowed and we have some stock,” Ms Maybin added.

“The volunteers are enjoying this and it’s helping their mental health as it’s giving them something to get up in the morning for.”

Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister visited one of their hubs in Dungannon to see the work being carried out.

Michelle O’Neill praised the team for their hard work: “This is an absolutely amazing project and it started with someone wanting to do their best and try to help and give back in the middle of the crisis.

“It’s turned into a whole network of people, women and men from right across the country, who’ve come together.

“People who can cut, people who can provide material, people who can fundraise, people who can sew and people who can deliver and those who can play their part in the middle of all this strangeness as we deal with Covid-19.

“It’s all not for profit, it’s all voluntary.

“They are here for the goodness of their heart, and to play their part and it’s so uplifting to see what’s being done here.”

PA