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Local communities have joined together to sew scrubs for NHS and care home staff. Using donated quilt sheets and fabric, the scrubs have a variety of friendly patterns and colours.

Merriott Sewers, Somerset Scrubs, Langport Scout Group, Hardy Gown, Livingstone Textiles and Taunton Scrubbers are just some of the groups which have donated scrub sets, hats and headbands to care settings such as Yeovil District hospital and GP surgeries.

Musgrove Park Hospital and Somerset’s community hospitals and mental health units (Somerset NHS Foundation Trust) have received 1,200 scrubs sets, 1,000 hats and 1,200 headbands so far.

Susan McDonnell who started the largest scrub sewing group in the county, the Taunton Scrubbers, explains

“I originally started the group as my family live some distance away and I wanted to feel like I was helping, now we have over 1000 members in Somerset. There are around 600 people sewing and the rest supporting with things like logistics and admin.

So far we’ve produced over 2500 scrub sets and 4000 scrub caps or ear saver headbands. It’s been an amazing experience; I’ve met so many new people. The most important thing is it makes you feel like you’re doing something, giving people some belonging and purpose during this time. You feel like you can help the county when the county needs it”

Susan goes on to say that she has never turned down any offer of help in her community, finding jobs from little ones helping sort the right size buttons or for those able to commit more time, families producing scrubs in a factory style.

The group, which is made up of smaller local sewing communities, has sent scrubs across the county to carers and NHS workers.

Sandra Corry, director of quality and nursing, from the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said

“We are extremely grateful for the support we’ve received from members of our local community over the past few weeks. These generous donations, alongside routine deliveries of PPE provided from the NHS supply chain, help our colleagues to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep our frontline workers and the people they are caring for safe. “

Another way to get involved and keep busy is to knit or crochet a blanket for patients on Musgrove’s care of the older person wards.

Launched last year, the hospital appealed for colourful blankets to help patients remember which bed is theirs, in what can be a confusing time while staying in hospital.

The hospital received hundreds of blankets from the appeal, with blankets coming from across the globe as keen knitters and crocheters got to work.

However supply is now running low, as due to infection control measures, each blanket goes home with the patient to keep.

Nic Monteiro, a senior nurse at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We would like to say a big thank you to the people and organisations of Somerset for their generous donations, which really show how much they greatly care for our wonderful local NHS.

“Seeing our colleagues in colourful scrubs has put a smile on many faces, and we can’t thank local people enough for the time and effort they have put into making scrubs for our healthcare colleagues.”

If you’re interested in either knitting or crocheting a blanket, please make it 60 x 40 inches in size and send your blankets to: Eliot Ward, Musgrove Park Hospital, Parkfield Drive, Taunton, TA1 5DA.

For more information on the Taunton Scrubbers, visit the Taunton Scrubbers Facebook page for more details.