Throughout the pandemic, with the NHS often struggling to get enough PPE supplies, it has been the work of volunteer groups like Sew Sussex that has helped keep staff and patients safe. Local residents Val and Louise responded to the call for volunteers to sew much needed supplies. They have been making Scrubs*, Masks and Scrub Bags* with materials they collect from a local centre in Eastbourne, when they deliver the items they have made. This is a wonderful example of how local people, in often unseen and unappreciated ways, have been quietly playing a vital part in making life a bit safer for the dedicated hospital and care home professionals, and in doing so also help save lives. And even though the pandemic is beginning to slow, the demand for volunteer work in this area is still very real, and may increase if there are local spikes in the virus. At times the Sussex have received hundreds of orders in a day. The initiative was originally set up by the Seaford and Bishopston Neighbourhood watch, and say this about themselves on their facebook page:

‘We are a team of near 2000 volunteers all sewing extra scrubs, caps, gowns and masks for NHS Doctors, Nurses and Care-workers in Hospitals, Clinics, Care Homes and Medical Practices wherever they may need our help. Initially from Worthing to Hastings and inland to Lewes and Hailsham, our numbers have swollen as the Ladies of the WI and various Scrub Hubs join us as Sister Hubs from all over the country. We have burst our banks and no longer are we just Sussex, we are Great Britain and proudly so!’

Anyone interested in volunteering can learn more and get in touch via their webpage or facebook @SewSussex

*Here we have to declare to our previous ignorance on the subject of medical protective wear. Scrubs we now learn are what medics wear that are removed and cleaned after a shift. And scrub bags are the bags into which all the ‘scrubs’ are placed after removal so that the whole bagful can be laundered before re-use. Obviously there is a lot of disposable PPE these days but scrubs and scrub bags are still in very high demand for staff throughout the hospital and care sectors. And they come in great colours too!