• Handpicked Harrogate

Harrogate Scrubbers group almost 700 strong

Pictured: Glyn Goddard (Furnish and Fettle) & Mary Walker in the cutting workroom.

Three weeks since the Harrogate Scrubbers launched, they now have nearly 700 members, have raised £16.594 and already delivered 445 scrubs to Harrogate District Hospital. Local companies have now got involved to support the phenomenal efforts the community are making including printing patterns, donating carrier bags, helping prepare the scrub packs and even donating gifts to keep the teams’ moral going.

Having heard the challenges the NHS were facing with PPE shortages across the UK, maths teacher at St John Fisher High School, Fran Taylor, decided she needed to do something to help. Setting up a Facebook group with literally a handful of members, the response has overwhelmed her, ‘I never dreamed we would inspire the community so much, but the response has been truly amazing! We have people cutting out packs, sewing, delivering packs, there really is a role for anyone. It isn’t just helping the NHS, it has given a lot of people a purpose and is helping their mental health in isolation. Everyone can chat on the group, ask for help and then showcase their work. It has become a little community and one I am proud to have started’.

The sheer success of the group has however presented challenges in providing supplies and getting packs out to so many volunteers. Architects Bowman Riley, Enid Taylor and interior designers Blue Sky Design in Boston Spa have all helped printing patterns for the volunteers. Fiona Collier from Blue Sky explains, ‘we were delighted to be approached for help for such an amazing cause. We have printed and delivered the patterns and have even provided posters to help identify the delivery hubs.’

Bettys & Taylors Group through their community recycling project, the Cone Exchange and Harrogate Cook Ltd both responded to an appeal from the group for shopping bags to put the packs in earlier this week, providing over 1,000 paper carrier bags the same day the request went out.

Ripon City Council heard about the appeal and have donated £1,200 of fabric and haberdashery. White Rose Sewing have provided materials at cost and Showtime Fabrics have donated fabric.

After being asked to also provide waterproof gowns for the hospital, reusable nappy makers Totsbots responded to the appeal and donated waterproof fabric. Local design company Standout Media have provided the group with a new logo, which will be followed by a website and social media support.

Hotel Chocolat in Harrogate were so impressed by the campaign that they donated bags of chocolates to go out in the packs to thank volunteers.

Finally Furnish & Fettle having previously donated 800m of fabric have now opened up a workroom where they, along with Mary Walker, who is also making scrubs for the group, are able to support the team with another hub that they are using for cutting and distributing packs to the volunteers.

Whilst remaining a community-led initiative, the Harrogate Scrubbers have now committed to providing 2,000 scrubs for the hospital, who are already sending messages of thanks including, ‘Can’t wait! Had a delivery at work today from the Harrogate Scrubbers. They’re so comfy – thanks a million!’.

Volunteers are also sending messages of thanks, Belinda Whitehead stated, ‘The Harrogate scrubbers have not only been able to help our wonderful health service but it’s helping us volunteers also by giving us a sense of purpose, a project to work on and a feeling of being part of our local community. Thank you so much!’

It costs just £27 to make a set of scrubs which could save someone’s life.

To donate, visit: https://tinyurl.com/harrogatescrubbers

Join the Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/harrogatescrubbers

If you are interested and want to get involved, please join the Facebook group for details.

Alternatively, contact harrogatescrubbers@gmail.com