'Crazy busy' time for Magherafelt's cutters and sewers
The cutters and sewers of the NI Scrubs Magherafelt Group have been “crazy busy” in recent weeks coping with demand.
Coordinator Linda Murray has turned her home into a collection and delivery hub after getting together with her neighbours in the Hazelbrook area of the town to help out in the COVID-19 crisis.
She has a team of 30 women either cutting or sewing in their own time with the finished scrubs going to nurses at hospitals or care homes in the area.
They are backed-up by an equally enthusiastic team of bikers and drivers who deliver the scrubs, scrub bags, masks and mask holders to where they are most needed.
Family friend and motorcycling racer Nico Mawhinney from Castledawson, is one of the delivery volunteers. Nico has his own campaign going at present to raise money for the NHS.
Linda, a graphic designer, got involved with NI Scrubs when the threat from COVID-19 became apparent last month, and the demand for scrubs became so overwhelming that it was decided to break the work up into smaller groups based in each of the Mid Ulster towns.
She started off sewing with “a bit of material from Savile Row”. Now she spends her days from 8.30 in the morning until 8pm, packing and co-ordinating orders.
The Magherafelt group produce more than 100 scrubs a week with each volunteer operating at a pace they are happy with.
“We don’t challenge people to go fast,” she said. “Just do what they can. Some girls can produce six a day or more. It all depends. We are grateful for what they do.”
Linda explained that local business people have made donations which are used to buy material, or have given material that is “bundled up” and sent out to the group members.
“A lot of orders are from individual nurses, the Mid Ulster Hospital, and care homes which have been neglected and not really protected in all this,” she continued. “We are happy to give them out to whoever needs them most on the frontline.”
Linda said the scrubs are washable and come with a scrub bag (made from a pillow case). “They can all be reused and hopefully when they COVID-19 crisis is over they can be gathered up and re-donated to some other country who needs them,” she went on.
The Magherafelt woman believes it will take some time before the crisis is over but is hopeful that by the summer things will be getting back to normal. “We will need a lot of precautions in place so that it doesn’t come back,” she stressed.
Linda expressed the hope that demand will settle down in a couple of weeks but until then they would “keep going”.
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