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Royal Free volunteers sewing scrubs for frontline workers with help from Wac Arts

PUBLISHED: 12:59 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:20 11 June 2020

Creating scrubs for the Royal Free's staff. Picture: Royal Free

Creating scrubs for the Royal Free's staff. Picture: Royal Free

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A team of volunteers are using the Old Hampstead Town Hall-base of local charity Wac Arts to sew thousands of scrubs for staff at the Royal Free.

Creating scrubs for the Royal Free's staff. Picture: Royal FreeCreating scrubs for the Royal Free's staff. Picture: Royal Free

Helped by fashion expert Caroline Gration, whose daughter is a Royal Free doctor who has been working with Covid-19 patients, sewers old and new have created a workshop which produces hundreds of surgical gowns a day.

With the support of the Royal Free Charity – which has used funding from its ongoing coronavirus emergency appeal to provide 35 sewing machines for the volunteers – more than 15,000 gowns have been made so far.

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The charity’s interim chief exec, Richard Scarth, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the hospital’s clinical staff in such a direct way.

“We can see how well the project is running – it’s a truly impressive operation, particularly given the social distancing constraints.

“We are also so grateful to our volunteers for their hard work on the project and we know that their commitment will be making a huge contribution to its success.”

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Ms Gration, director of The Fashion School UK, wanted to use her background in training others in creative fashion to do something positive for the NHS.

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She said: “My own daughter is a doctor working with COVID-19 positive patients at the Royal Free Hospital, so I felt a real connection with the trust.”

“I knew that I needed to find a way to work in synergy with the hospital, to ensure that we were providing what was actually needed.”

Wac Arts – which runs performing arts training for young people – has paused its program during the pandemic so was able to offer up its premises.

The scrubs are being used by the three hospitals across the Royal Free London (RFL) NHS Trust, and chief executive Caroline Clarke said: “Projects like this show just how much is possible when we all work together – this has been a real community effort, and I am very grateful for the commitment and generosity of all involved.”

The trust said it had not suffered a shortage of gowns, but the newly-sewn gowns “make use of surplus material to help boost stocks”.

To get involve email Alix.temple@nhs.net. The Royal Free Charity’s appeal continues at royalfreecharity.org


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