The Great NHS Sewing Bee donates handmade PPE to frontline healthcare workers

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 April 2020

Helen Cooke, founder of The Great NHS Sewing Bee group.Picture: Reuben Cooke

Helen Cooke, founder of The Great NHS Sewing Bee group.Picture: Reuben Cooke

Reuben Cooke

A community has rallied together to support GP practices, care homes and hospitals with handmade face masks, draw string bags and headbands in the fight against coronavirus.

Helen's daughters Olivia and Clara making headbands and face masks.    Picture: Reuben CookeHelen's daughters Olivia and Clara making headbands and face masks. Picture: Reuben Cooke

Founder of The Great NHS Sewing Bee group, Helen Cooke, has thanked ‘amazing’ volunteers who support the initiative in Portishead.

Helen said: “It’s a group effort and it’s great to see the community in Portishead coming together to help.

“I started a Facebook group because my friend Emma is a doctor, she’s moved from cancer care to a critical care ward which I have been making masks for, and it’s been great fun helping out. We’ve now got 115 members in the group which was set-up around three weeks ago and the people helping out have been absolutely amazing.”

Volunteers are making and donating headbands, drawstring bags and face masks as well as ear savers for masks to care homes, GPs practices, hospitals and small care providers in the area.

Members of the group are looking for donations of materials, such as bedding, to make the PPE and the group has also joined forces with Portishead Town Council and the town’s coronavirus support network.

Helen added: “A lot of nurses suffer from pressure sores behind their ears from the masks when working in Covid-19 wards in hospitals, so the headbands help relieve those pressures and prevent the sores.

“NHS staff can also put their uniform in the drawstring bags and can throw it all in the wash, in a bid to prevent to spread of infection to their homes.

“A lot of masks are going to Bedminster Family Practice in Bristol, as well as other GP practices in the city, and PPE is being delivered to hundreds of staff using our donations.

“People have really got behind it and we have a lot of talented sewers in the group, even if people only have time to make four headbands a week, it’s still a great contribution to make and anyone can give it a go.

“It’s good for everyone’s mental health to be busy, and the more people who want to get involved, the better.”

To donate materials or request handmade goods, email or call 01275 847078 and press option five.

To join the group, search for The Great NHS Sewing Bee on Facebook.

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