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'Thank you for all you're doing': bishop's message to volunteers making scrubs for NHS

by Marcus Jones

The Church of England's lead bishop on healthcare has sent a message of thanks to volunteers in the North East who've been making scrubs for NHS staff and health workers.

The Scrub Hub has brought together around 300 people to sew clothing and bags for used scrubs

Hundreds of items are currently being made and distributed to hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.

It was set up by Sellafield worker Claire Riley on Good Friday and grown thanks to social media.

Claire explained: "I'm delighted at the response we've had to this. I know that I was not coping particularly well with what's going on at the moment and it was easy to feel down about the situation.

"But this has given so many people a new focus of attention and a feeling that they are doing something practical to help. There are quite a few of our sewers who are shielding so it's helped them too through the creation of new friends and links and so they feel less isolated. Of course, it's ultimately about getting the scrubs to those who need them."

A number of churchgoers have also offered their services. Rev Julia Powley, priest in charge of Harrington and Distington, has been busy sewing scrubs bags and has also provided up to 50 face masks for a similar initiative in west Cumbria.

She explained: "This has been a practical way in which I can give something back to our NHS. I know that there's been a surge of volunteers who have come forward to help and I'm sure that they are all doing it for the same reason.

"It's also about being able to help personally. I know of one person who is autistic and is afraid of masks so I was asked to make one out of Thomas the Tank Engine material because they love the stories. It's just another way to help."
NHS staff and frontline workers able to order for free, though donations are welcomed. 

Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Rev James Newcome, said: "In such strange and unsettling times it is wonderful to hear how new communities are being formed to offer practical help to others.

"As lead bishop on health and social care I am well aware of the daily courageous efforts of our frontline NHS staff and health workers. I'm therefore delighted that the Scrub Hub has been created in order to support them. Thank you, all, for what you are doing.

"As we continue in this period of lockdown and look towards a somewhat unpredictable future, my prayers remain with all those NHS workers who continue to serve selflessly as well as those volunteers involved with the Scrub Hub, and other such initiatives, who have rallied to their cause."

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