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Army of sewers stitching scrubs at home appeal for cash for fabric

In just a few days, the group in Sheffield has had requests for 300 sets of scrubs from local hospitals and 200 from GP surgeries.

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Volunteer stitcher Rebecca Hammond, who is among a network of dozens of home sewers (Graeme Hammond/PA)

Volunteer stitcher Rebecca Hammond, who is among a network of dozens of home sewers (Graeme Hammond/PA)

Volunteer stitcher Rebecca Hammond, who is among a network of dozens of home sewers (Graeme Hammond/PA)

A network of dozens of home sewers are appealing for cash for fabric as they race to fulfil hundreds of requests for clinical scrubs.

More than 80 volunteers in Sheffield have answered a call to put their sewing machines to use as over 500 orders have flooded in from hospitals and GP surgeries in South Yorkshire and north Derbyshire.

One of the organisers, Becky Ashfield, has set up a crowdfunding page to help raise money for more fabric for the group, which includes a tailor and a textiles teacher as well as scores of amateur sewers working at home.

Ms Ashfield said the initiative started last week when she was contacted by someone who was trying to help out their local GP surgery.

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Noreen Naz, a volunteer stitcher (Noreen Naz/PA)

Noreen Naz, a volunteer stitcher (Noreen Naz/PA)

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Noreen Naz, a volunteer stitcher (Noreen Naz/PA)

In just a few days, the group has had requests for 300 sets of scrubs from local hospitals, including in Barnsley and Rotherham, and 200 from GP surgeries.

Ms Ashfield said she has put her own business on hold during the crisis but has put up hundreds of pounds of her own money up front to make sure there is fabric available for the initial set of orders.

But she said the group now urgently needs to get funding together for the fabric for the scrubs, which cost about £10 to £12 each to make, despite much of the material being supplied at heavily discounted prices by Annie’s fabric shop in Sheffield.

She said that some of the volunteers have even been tearing up their duvet covers to make the garments, although most have to be dyed a shade of green or blue for stain-identification purposes.

“We’ve got so many people out there ready and willing and they’re working away,” said Ms Ashfield.

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Volunteer Martin Sics (Martin Sics/PA)

Volunteer Martin Sics (Martin Sics/PA)

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Volunteer Martin Sics (Martin Sics/PA)

“But we just need to raise money quickly to get the fabric.”

She said: “We’ve only been going a few days. The number of orders has been amazing.”

Ms Ashfield praised Lyndsey Nicholls, of Annie’s, who is working hard to supply the volunteers across the city, discounting the fabric as much as she can while staying in business.

“It’s amazing what they’re doing all over the city,” Ms Nicholls said.

She said she has even been asked to source yellow fabric for the children’s hospital in the city.

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Volunteer stitcher Alison Sics (Alison Sics/PA)

Volunteer stitcher Alison Sics (Alison Sics/PA)

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Volunteer stitcher Alison Sics (Alison Sics/PA)

Ms Nicholls said some GPs had offered to pay for the material for their own orders.

Volunteer stitcher Rebecca Hammond said she is working on 20 sets for a GP surgery linked to her work.

“I’ve done 16 tops and I’m now working on the bottoms, which are more straightforward,” she said.

“They’re not perfect items but they’re very much ‘good enough’.”

Donations can be made at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/scrubs-supporters and more information is available on the Facebook page Sheffield Scrubs Up.

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