Sewing scrubs for the NHS

Tue, 21 Apr 2020 16:30:00 BST

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, people across the country – and around the world – are doing what they can to help. In our Department of Materials, one student putting her skills to fantastic use is Olivia-Faye Dickinson.

With the University campus in shutdown, Olivia – a third-year Materials Science and Engineering with Textile Technology MEng student – has returned to her summer job in Lichfield, working as a seamstress at alteration shop Tudor Sew. Alongside shop owner Tina, Olivia is voluntarily sewing scrubs for NHS staff in the local area – and is hoping to raise enough funds to buy the materials needed.

Here she tells us more…

Tina was contacted by a local hospital in a general email asking small businesses for help to supply simple things during this time. She then suggested we voluntarily sew scrubs at home and fundraise the money to buy the materials (one scrubs costs about £13 to make; materials-wise we need thread, fabric, washing labels and drawstring for the trousers), and the hospitals need hundreds during this time.

Now I’m based away from campus I was onboard straightaway; I’m so glad to be able to use my skills to help. We have agreed with four local hospitals to donate our products to them: Burton Queens Hospital, Derby University Hospital, Samuel Johnson Lichfield and Robert Peel Tamworth.

We have now been contacted by seamstresses we both know and don’t know to help, and have expanded into a group of 14 seamstresses and cutters. We’ve started on the main process of cutting and sewing the materials into their final design.

Tina, myself and the other ladies have received messages from NHS workers – both friends of ours and strangers – thanking us for what we are doing.

When my friend (a medical student from The University of Manchester) messaged me, it made it seem so much more real that some of my friends, as well as their friends, will benefit from this. Knowing that some NHS staff won’t be so ‘lucky’ to get scrubs is something I really want to prevent, and I’m so glad I can use my skills to do so.”

The project relies on donations in order to secure the materials and equipment needed to keep making the urgently-required NHS scrubs.

You can help by contributing on the project’s JustGiving page.

Well done Olivia!