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Today – a lot of thoughts to share.

We stated by writing this “Letter” to you all. Which then got overtaken by further information and thoughts so please read on…

1. Letter to you all

Dear All

We have all been working hard on this project doing whatever we can for up to 6 weeks. We know that for some people returning to working life is getting closer. Others may have put heart and soul into the project and are starting to feel the pressure. Others are struggling to deal with the takeover of their dining rooms, kitchens, spare bedrooms by fabric and sewing paraphernalia.

We want to reassure you all that stepping back, doing less, doing no more… none of these are letting anyone down. We can only do what we can do without compromising our own health and sanity.

We do still have many outstanding requests and we have offers of fabric that may / could fully meet those requests but we must only bite of what we can chew. We need to assess what we can reasonably expect to achieve going forward.

Co-ordinators – you have done so much, please please please tell us if you need to step back, all we ask is that you help us find successors and show them the ropes.

Scrub Sewers – Please complete this quick survey to give us a clue as to where you all are with continuing… we believe we have a core of around 250 sewers doing the bulk of the scrub making. It would be helpful to have a significant number of you reply…

In the meantime, once again, thank you all for all that you have done and are doing. You are amazing.

2. Current situation

We have had funded 1164 scrubs and now have made 1351 excluding some early ones.

We had distributed 829 by Friday so should have around 500 in the system coming in. Lets say 300 to be safe assuming 200 have gone out privately.

We have outstanding requests for 1750 if we deduct the acute requests we get 1500.

So after the 300 in the system go out we have 1200 requests (may end up as low as 1000)

The Chris Evans fabric:

We expect to receive 1750m of fabric from the Chris Evans fundraiser today or tomorrow morning. We have no idea what the spec is or the width. If I is the narrowest material at 4.8m / scrub makes 360. Probably at least 400.

Leaves us needing 800 sets.

We have then been told we might well get a further 5000m next week if we want it. 5000m makes 1042 sets.

This needs some thought…

The sets we have made so far have been made by 260 sewers. The first set of 1750m of fabric would require around 2 more sets each and the second set of fabric would require another 4 more sets each… total 6 sets each if everyone carries on making.

Of the 260 sewers 140 of them made around 1000 of the 1350 scrub sets having excluded those on Project 3000. So really we would be relying largely heavily on those who have made a lot already to keep doing so.

Also we have around £4000 about to be available that we were planning on spending on fabric. It seems that the fabric from the Chris Evans fund has been bought and needs making up so it may be best to accept this fabric knowing that we told our donors that we would donate to the Nation Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal if we have excess funds.

Finally we are checking out what will happen to our Hub when the school re-opens even if only partially. We must anticipate that we will need to vacate and thoroughly clean the room.

I hope / expect you can hear our brains whirling… what to do… We have decided to not take any decisions until we see the 1750m of fabric and what it is like. At the same time we will try to get feedback from you our team. Then we will take stock again.

To this end please can you answer this quick questionnaire if you have not already filled in your thought on the facebook poll? All assuming we provide the fabric etc. over the next 2 to 4 weeks.

Mondays Update

Hi everyone. I think I will have more to tell tomorrow. We should be doing our first collection in of Project 3000 scrubs tomorrow. Our aim is to deliver them direct to the Consultant who has set the whole project up at the Hospital tomorrow afternoon. Fingers crossed that the plans go smoothly. We’d be hoping to deliver 300 or more scrub sets.

I heard a rumour that Luca had 200 sets of scrubs in the hub which he was sorting delivery for so as expected they continue to flood in. As to the next fabric delivery keep your fingers and toes crossed. We believe we should be receiving some fabric from the Chris Evans Fund raiser…. Yes as someone said “The” Chris Evans and his son Noah. If I’d been travelling to work a year or so back I would have known exactly what was going on as I tuned in to listen to him. As it is I’m out of touch but as soon as we know more we will let you know. We also might have access to more funds from Go Fund me from tomorrow or the next few days… watch this space.

Finally, although Boris is not changing much in terms of what we can do, we notice that various members of our team are trying to pick up the threads of working lives. We must accept that this takes precedence over our project. Please have patience and accept that not every question will receive an instant answer as out team adjust to juggling work, home and WFLOS.

Weekend Update

Isn’t it fantastic to see so many pictures of our scrubs in use and clearly appreciated. It feels like it has taken us a while to get to this position but in reality it’s only been a few weeks. I’m sure someone can tell us how many… In that time we have had to raise the funds, buy the fabric, distribute it, make the scrubs get it back in and send the finished articles out.

After a bit of a break the past couple of days we can take stock of where we are: Having delivered around 800 sets of scrubs, we still have requests for about 1700 sets of scrubs ignoring the Acute Hospital requests which we assume will come from Project 3000. Of these 1700 requests, 1200 are for Care Homes. 270 of these are for one care home which needs some investigation and looks all wrong! The rest are of all sorts of NHS services including doctors surgeries, community groups, smaller and community hospitals and outside the NHS a funeral directors, and some adult care and children services etc.

We appear to have 400 or more sets of scrubs in the system expected next week. Probably more. That leaves us needing “say” another 1000 sets and we have funding for about another 400sets, leaving us about 600 sets short. The funding is the money still in Go Fund Me and some in the bank. It now looks as though this money will be with us by the middle of this week as we have told it has now been released.

So we expect more fabric to start coming through mid to end of this week all being well. We are conscious of not over pushing our amazingly willing sewers. Some may be finding ways to get back to work or finding the sewing is getting too onerous. Please let us know how you are feeling so we can judge the mood for pushing on to fulfil all the requests. We have to assume that at some point scrubs will be available commercially as well and then it will definitely be time for us to take a back seat.

We’ll take stock as regards trying to fund the further 600 sets later in the week but in the meantime I’m off to see if Boris is going to let me / pay for me to fly to a desert island on my own private jet for an extended holiday with all my family and friends… we can but dream…

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers…

As we head into the bank holiday weekend (how is it different from any other day apart from that the Hub is closed?), I thought I’d look at the Scrub numbers which I had lost track of a bit the last few days:

By end of play tonight we had distributed to all sorts of venues 827 sets of scrubs. This includes any you have told us about that you have sent out using your own fabric etc.

Our “Made Scrubs” sheet says that we have made 1136 sets of scrubs in total (including fabric from all sources not just our funded fabric) so there are about 300 sets finding their way in to the Hub etc. and waiting to be distributed. This sounds like quite a few but given the rate they have been coming in and going out this week its not that surprising and I haven’t asked for a count of how many are at the Hub at end of play today.

We have had funding for just under 1200 sets of scrubs and have distributed that fabric and we know there are quite a few still to be made up.

On top of this we expect to have made between 300 and 350 sets of scrubs for the project 3000 trial by Tuesday next week.

All pretty amazing in a few short weeks, well done everyone. Thank you for all your efforts and your good humour when things have not always gone quite according to plan. Enjoy your long weekend.

A Good Day

Not only has the sun been shining today but it’s been a Good Day for us.

Firstly we got a really lovely thank you from the Divisional Director Nursing at Worcestershire NHS Trust. This is a huge tribute to all your hard work whether it has been in sewing scrubs, making wash bags, headbands, hearts or scrubs hats… Hats off to you we are making a difference. She also included some photos.

I have posted the letter in a separate post all of its own and will pin it at the top of our facebook page for all to see. Then we got some lovely photos from Redditch Mental Health unit (attached) all wearing our lovely scrubs.. They look amazing, well done everyone.

This comes as welcome news. We had some frustration the last couple of days as we struggled to work out what was happening with the Community Hospitals. They seemed to not need what we were delivering. It turns out that because the B’Ham Nightingale Hospital has not been used they have had an influx of scrubs that were destined to go there. Thinking about it, now we understand the situation we should be happy that the Nightingale Hospital was not or hardly used and realise how important our scrubs might have been if things had gone a different way.

Nothing wasted anyway, the scrubs destined for these Community Hospitals will easily be absorbed by the next tier of requests from Nursing homes, Surgery’s, Community health and many more. They are already winging their way in that direction.

Then we come to funding, we now have £1400 in the bank enough to consider another fabric purchase and we have had ongoing communication with Go Fund Me. They have not come up with the answer we wanted in as much as they will not validate the church to receive our funds directly (even though they had already paid nearly £5000 out to the Church!). The problem is that, I spite of being charities under English Law, Churches do not have any key registration documents unless they have tax affairs with HMRC and St Mary’s does not. I think it’s all a bit too quaint and English for an American company to deal with! At least they have been honest and told us fairly quickly. However, they will allow the funds to be paid into a personal account… Mad I know!! So our money will be a flowing through a personal account into the Churches accounts. The bank account is not mine and I will be monitoring it, this is the safest method we can come up with and I have absolute trust in the personal account it is flowing through.

The top and bottom of that is that all being well at some point next week, fingers crossed, we will be able to make another substantial fabric purchase.

Finally, the scrubs 3000 project trial is moving along well and we have sent some samples into the hospital today to check that they meet specification and will be well received.

I’m sure there is more to tell but that’s enough rambling for one night….. Keep sewing and stay healthy.

Short Update – Tuesday

Struggling for inspiration today… more sewing, more scrubs, more deliveries, more challenges of various sizes

We look like we are probably making laundry bags and headbands faster than they are now needed as we have quite a stock build up in the Hub. The same may be true of scrub hats as well.

May we suggest if you have been making these items that you finish what you are making but don’t make any more for the moment… Sit back , take a rest, have a cup of tea or make some bunting to decorate your house for Friday!

Keep your scrubs flowing to the hub and we will keep delivering them out. We’ve been doing some ringing around and find that some who ordered them a while back have found alternatives since but we have LOTS of newer orders which we will move on to as we work our way down the list.

We seem to have a shortage of the biggest and smallest sizes. We don’t want everyone to start on them but a few more XL, and XXLs, and a few XS sizes would be good and maybe a few XLs with extra long legs for a few very tall men out there. If you plan on doing a few like this let your coordinator know so she can tell you if everyone is doing the same and change the plan!!

Try to get out and enjoy a bit of the sunshine this week, remember this is voluntary and make sure you keep some balance in your life if you can… More tomorrow.

Bean counter here… today’s news

This morning I produced some stats that may interest you all… See below…. apart from that I have been busy counting beans and Katie and Sian have been exchanging lots of messages which have been a blurr so I’m afraid I’m not in the loop but not doubt they have been busy sorting out deliveries of various things!!! Can I say how wonderful it is to know that our coordinators are just getting on and sorting things out so well.

So far our project has raised over £15,000. WOW!!!

We have used £11,000 of this funding to purchase fabric for 1,100 sets of scrubs which has been distributed to our sewers. The last of this arrived at the hub this morning and I assume is winging its way to sewers now.   Approximately 800 (another WOW) of these scrub sets have been made up ( or they had this morning but its hard to keep up you’ve probably made more by now!!) and over 600 have gone out to the community to be used.  We anticipate that the 200 which are on their way to being distributed and the remaining 300 being made will all be out into the community and in use within a week to 10 days. (Don’t worry if a few take longer go at your own pace ).

The balance of our funding £4,000 is not fully accessible as yet but will be spend as soon as it clears and will make a further 400 or so sets of scrubs. Some has not cleared the bank yet and £2,800 of this funding has been held up by Go Fund me our online giving who are taking some time to do a secondary verification of our account. I talked about this yesterday but the good news is that there have been a flurry of emails today and we have been passed to the next stage for validation. Thye say 5 to 8 working days but I’m crossing my fingers fro sooner as this last stage happened more quickly than I was expecting.

The issue is that we have had requests from hospitals, community health organisations, hospices and care homes for nearly 3200 sets of scrubs. Our funding will fund around 1600 so if we are to fulfil the requests we have received we will need a further £16,000 of funding or thereabouts. We are asking ourselves a few questions though like: by the time we are making the last of these will it be possible to buy them commercially? Have those that asked for scrubs a while ago found them elsewhere etc etc… what happens to you our voluntary workforce when / if lockdown is eased, will you find yourselves back at work without so much time to sew…. Lots to think about..

We had a thank you email from the Acute Hospital today which you all should see and  we understand the scrubs delivered to Malvern were very well received.

“MESSAGE FROM LISA MIRUSZENKO – DEPUTY CHIEF NURSING OFFICER

Dear Katie

Thank you so much we are delighted to of received so many scrubs. We are particularly touched by the individual messages on the uniforms ..so sweet. We cannot thank you all enough for the extremely kind donation and the time and effort that’s gone into making these scrubs, it is truly recognised.

When we are able to send you photos we will of course do so, but we have to first go through a process of cleaning and labelling. So in the meantime, please pass on my sincere thanks to all the people who have generously donated.

Kind regards

Lisa Miruszenko
Deputy Chief Nursing Officer”

Weekend Update

Over the past week we have sent 300 sets of scrubs to the Acute Hospitals (Tuesday) and 50 sets of scrubs each to Bromsgrove, Malvern and Evesham community hospitals. This feels that we are now getting substantial numbers heading to where they are needed. We were hoping to see some evidence of our scrubs in use but as yet have not had any responses apart from a general thank you message on receipt. Perhaps if you hear of anyone who has received or used any of our scrubs from these deliveries this last week you could ask them to let us know.

I have copied an extract from a thread on facebook on Friday which I have included which we are keen for you all to see here.

Interestingly we have had requests for around a further 1000 scrubs in the past week. Over the course of the week we will be analysing the requests and thinking about need, funding and the position with commercial suppliers.

Two more batches of fabric went out on Friday and should be on its way to you all by now. One roll was missing from the Friday delivery and has been promised on Monday so there will be a few more follow up deliveries early next week.

Finally we have been battling last week with a problem with accessing funds from Go Fund Me. For the first week or so the funds were coming out smoothly on a daily basis. Then they asked for some further verification of our fund. We answered and funds continued to flow and then they stalled. We have emailed and after about a 5 day wait we got an answer asking for further information which we have sent. Unfortunately we don’t know how long it will take to free up the funds. We have had £4600 out of the fund but £2800 is still in there. We hear of other organisations having similar issues with very long waits for responses. As a result we have decided to avoid further funds going into Go Fund Me until it is freed up. If you follow the link on the website you now get directions to make a bank transfer to the bank account of the church who is overseeing our money. This is very frustrating but we think is caused because of the number of community projects of this type that have been set up in the past month or so. Thankfully we have also had significant donations that have come in directly to the bank account which we have been able to use more or less immediately. We have not actually stopped funds from going into the GO Fund me as we are confident they will come through eventually but we are keen for as much possible to go straight to the bank.

Once again thank you all for all of your support and we look forward to seeing more Scrubs going where they are needed next week.

Thursdays update

Today didn’t feel very newsworthy until I started writing. In fact I nearly forgot to write anything until I came in from clapping for the NHS. It was noisy tonight… we live a field or two away from Malvern and can hear clapping across the fields… the wind much have been blowing our way today as Malvern was very noisy, lots of pans and whistle and horns as well as a general wave of clapping. We try to make a noise ourselves but only 3 houses don’t really do it!!

We spent some time this morning sorting out what we are doing with the Project 3000 trial and took delivery of the first batch of ready cut material. We spent lots of time worrying about whether there would be thread with it, bought some rather hurriedly then were told there would be thread with it… then it arrived without thread…. Hopefully it will end up with thread before it goes out, maybe tomorrow… watch this space and if you put your name down to take part look out for emails tomorrow morning please.

Our Thursday delivery of fabric arrived just in the nick of time as the Hub was closing up so is ready for cutting and distribution tomorrow morning. If the Friday delivery arrives in time the lovely hub team will be trying to get that out to you tomorrow as well so they are going to be very busy.

If you can get your scrubs into your local coordinators they will be able to send them back following the fabric drop to keep the Hub busy on Monday ready for more going out to the Community Hospitals early next week. Its great to see the numbers made keep rising.. Keep up the good work and as usual our thanks for all of your efforts.

Busy Busy Busy and Scrubs in to Hospitals

I don’t know how it feels out there in the sewing fields but it feels busy busy busy here

Yesterday the update was rather cryptic because we were in the middle of sorting out what we would do having been asked if we could sew some of the 3000 scrubs referred to in my previous update. Also yesterday we delivered a batch of around 300 scrubs to the Acute Hospitals. They asked us to keep it quiet as they wanted to hand them direct to staff today and we were rather hoping for some photos. Sadly no photos as yet but we will keep our fingers crossed. We were met and thanked but it’s obviously hard to arrange anything when distance has to be maintained.

However well done everyone that is a first big batch out where it belongs… Hurray!!!

Today we’ve been working out the logistics of sewing these 500 scrubs from the 3000 and asking people to volunteer. Typically we will probably be looking for people who can sew more than 10 sets a week leaving plenty of our funded fabric for the sewers on lower volumes of turnover.

On the subject of fabric we have two deliveries lined up so long as the fabric arrives on time. 600m coming in tomorrow and another 400m on Friday assuming delivery on time as promised.

We’ve done a lot today, time to put our feet up until tomorrow morning now. Enjoy your evenings everyone, its stopped raining her briefly so I might venture outside…

Oh… one last thing Face Masks – the National Group does not want us to do face masks and frankly we have enough on. There are other groups making these and I am sure if you want to go that route they will welcome your face masks. For now though, when asked it’s not part of our repertoire. Thanks.