News. The Prince’s Foundation partners with NHS sewing initiatives

25th of May, 2020

A dedicated team of volunteers made up of staff, students and friends of The Prince’s Foundation have joined forces with For The Love of Scrubs and The Big Community Sew to make at home scrubs and facemasks that meet the strict safety standards required by the NHS.

“It is a privilege to be able to utilise the community spirit and skills within The Prince’s Foundation to help the NHS in partnership with For The Love of Scrubs and The Big Community Sew at this vital time.” – Jacqueline Farrell, Education Director for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House.

“We are delighted to be able to use our sewing expertise to make scrubs for NHS workers in Ayrshire and Arran in partnership with the Ayrshire branch of For The Love of Scrubs.

“The not-for-profit community group has sourced us a supply of around 200m of suitable cotton fabric to use and we have used our network of staff, trainees and members of the local community to put together a team of experienced volunteers to manufacture 100 sets of scrubs at home.

“In addition to making scrubs themselves, staff from our textiles training programmes will be on hand to offer expert help and advice to our volunteers online or over the phone. The project has been a real team effort and the finished scrubs will be collected and delivered, on a contact-free basis, by one of the drivers at Dumfries House who has also volunteered his time.”

Volunteers have committed to sewing masks for people caring for members of their own family as part of The Big Community Sew. These will be distributed through the charity Crossroads, which provides respite services for home carers.

The news comes after clothing designer and judge of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee Patrick Grant, who is also co-chair of The Prince’s Foundation’s Future Textiles programme alongside John Sugden of the Scottish specialist tailor Campbell’s of Beauly, called on the nation’s sewing community to help people across the UK adapt to new public health guidance by producing millions of homemade face-coverings as part of the Big Community Sew campaign. Grant, whose Cookson and Clegg factory in Blackburn has been manufacturing PPE since the start of lockdown.

“I’ve been blown away by the efforts of our sewing community. The scrub-making groups, sewing clubs and thousands of home machinists that quietly jumped into action to stitch for the NHS have humbled and inspired me. Collectively, they have sewn nearly a quarter of a million pairs of scrubs, which is incredible. There are around six million sewing machines in homes across the UK. If every one of those machines can be used to make just a dozen face coverings that would be one for every person in the UK,” said Patrick.

“It would be fantastic if local communities could look out for each other in the same way they did when lock down started with all the messages on social media groups and notes through neighbours’ doors offering help with shopping or any other jobs. I’d like to encourage those who can make or sew to find out who in their community needs face coverings and get making.”

The Prince’s Foundation runs a number of textile training programmes that aim to breathe fresh talent into the UK’s fashion and textiles industry by providing expert tuition in traditional skills such as sewing, knitting and pattern-cutting. While workshops are currently on pause to help restrict the spread of coronavirus, more than 5,000 school pupils, teachers and adults looking to gain employment in the industry have benefitted from these programmes over the past five years.

More information on The Prince’s Foundation educational offerings at Dumfries House can be found here.