Much-needed hospital scrubs for doctors and nurses struggling to cope with the Covid-19 crisis will be made by volunteers from Connection Through Crafting and paid for by grants from Cambridgeshire Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the Freemasons' Charity
The grants, totalling £8,000, will help contribute to the manufacturing of 2,000 sets of scrubs for Addenbrookes, Papworth and other local hospitals. Most recently, the volunteers have started to supply nursing homes and make other items, such as community facemasks and bags to return items home to bereaved families.
Cambridge wellbeing researcher and seamstress Tricia Sutton is the founder of Connection Through Crafting, and has marshalled a growing team of more than 606 members, aged between seven and 87 years, both on and offline. The group’s name reflects the aim to provide a virtual community space for people at a loose end during lockdown. The group supports the wellbeing of its members, while at the same time helping hospital and care home staff get the scrubs they need.
No scrap of material is wasted and ultimately there are plenty of ideas for left-over fabric, including helping four special needs schools in Kenya and producing a quilt, as a legacy of these times.
To date, Tricia and her group have produced 540 sets of scrubs and 2503 scrub bags - each set is provided with this, to enable transportation of dirty scrubs. Many scrub bags were produced by novice machinists from donated pillowcases, to develop their sewing skills before moving onto production of the scrubs themselves.
The MCF, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales, provided a grant of £5,000 which complemented £2,500 donated by the members of Isaac Newton University Lodge in Cambridge and £500 by members of Descensus Aquarum Lodge in Ely.
In response to the extraordinary need created by the coronavirus pandemic, Freemasonry is providing special funding of £2.75 million for projects helping those who are particularly affected by the virus. This extra money comes on top of the estimated £45 million given to charity every year by Freemasons.
Patricia Sutton said: 'We’re very grateful to Cambridgeshire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will go a long way towards helping us reach our target of 2,000 sets of scrubs. It’s not only valuable work, but it’s also great fun. Anyone is welcome to join us, no matter what their level of sewing skill. Please give us a call and you will receive a warm welcome.'
David Goode, from Cambridgeshire Freemasons, who coordinated the donations from Cambridge and Ely, said: 'I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Patricia and her group with their outstanding efforts to help doctors, nurses and care home professionals obtain the scrubs they need to do their jobs during this very difficult time. It’s a very practical way to help the medical heroes who are there for all of us.'