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Scrubs on the Dart

28th April 2020

The current lockdown restrictions of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency may be keeping our 'Ladies Afloat' off the high seas. But indoors, they have been getting crafty in the community, showing their sewing solidarity to support the local NHS.

Scrubs nurses April 2020 Scrubs material April 2020 Scrubs bundle April 2020

Marion Holmes spied an opportunity at the end of March to help when her daughter’s partner, Neil Manning - who works on the George Earle Ward at Torbay Hospital - reported that they were running low on scrubs, in particular, size XL.

In a call to action, and knowing that a stitch in time saves nine, Marion Holmes put out a request for help to the RDYC 'Ladies Afloat' group – “a ready-made group of ‘can do’ women." Take-up was enthusiastic and energetic. The 'Scrubs on the Dart' Team was launched.

Marion purchased enough materials for 15 sets of scrubs, enlisting the expertise of former consultant surgeon Susie Elias-Jones who advised on the scrubs’ design. Despite the bigger than anticipated learning curve, the first week’s delivery on 10 April 2020 was an impressive ten sets of XL scrubs and 75 scrubs bags. By the second week the team had strengthened, getting sewing savvy with a growing skill set and more fabric in the pipeline.

The scrubs cost about £8 per set as ‘Team Scrubs’ are using good quality approved fabric and are being worn by front line doctors, including in the ITU at Torbay Hospital. Feedback is that the scrubs are considered to be of a ‘professional standard;’ making the project all the more worthwhile.

Susie set-up a crowdfunding page and thanks to the generosity of the local community £1400 was collected in 48 hours to purchase more fabric, tape and accessories - scaling-up operations to deliver at least another 150 sets of scrubs, and up to 50 sets of scrubs per week for the next three weeks.

Operations were almost a casualty of the lockdown when a delivery got stuck at Exeter Delivery Depot due to furloughed drivers. Undaunted, a heroic team member drove to Exeter to collect the goods from the delivery vehicles so that the cutting teams could swing into action at the weekend to start delivering cut sets for the sewing squad.

Over 50 dedicated team members are now on board, spanning three hubs across West Dart (Dartmouth and West), East Dart (Kingswear and Churston) and Head of the Dart (Totnes, Halwell and Ivybridge). The busy bees are expanding further, recently joined by members of Dartmouth Yacht Club and a new mini-hub has started-up in Slapton.

Like any successful military operation (and those of a manufacturing background will wish to commend them), they are working to make the Hubs self-sufficient to reduce bottlenecks and manage demand, as admin and logistics become increasingly complex from delivery of fabric through to the completion of scrub sets to the final hospital delivery.

As of the end of last week (i.e. the past three weeks), Marion has delivered on behalf of the Scrubs Team a total of 115 sets of scrubs. With many more currently in production, plus lots and lots of scrub wash bags.

Commenting on their stitching success Marion said:

“We’ve had wonderful feedback and notes of gratitude from staff at the hospital, which is hugely appreciated and I thank everyone involved with 'Scrubs on the Dart'. It really is a team effort to do our bit during this national emergency.”

If anyone is interested in helping out, please email Lis Godlee at godlees@aol.com.

Or if you would like to make a donation to the crowdfunding page see here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/south-hams-scrubs-for-our-nhs-workers?utm_medium=chat&utm_source=whatsapp-visit&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet

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