A number of North Tyneside businesses have turned their creative hands and organisational skills to making uniform bags and comforting hearts for NHS staff & care homes all across the region

After a discussion with North Tyneside Business Forum, Kim Suleman from Six Penny Memories and Christine Breen from Mendy’s Clothing Alterations wanted to use their skills to help make things for the NHS and discovered that frontline staff needed cloth bags to take their uniform home after every shift, so they can wash both the bag and their uniform daily.

They are supplying thousands of bags to every NHS Northumbria Hospital from Wansbeck General Hospital in the North, Hexham in the West to the city centre including the RVI. Couple this with community liaison by Whitley Bay Big Local and dozens of community volunteers and the results are amazing.

So far, the volunteers have made a staggering 3500 uniform bags in just two weeks. The response from businesses and the public has been phenomenal as Kim Suleman explains

“The willingness of people to help is amazing. We need to make a minimum of two bags per staff member for washing purposes and the demand is high. It’s not just nurses that we are helping, it’s anyone who works on the frontline and needs to make sure that they are not a risk to others when travelling to and from work.”

In order to deliver the bags, strict protocols have been made with the NHS, as healthy members of the public can’t simply turn up at hospitals. The scheme has the tag line “You Sew, We Go.”

Karen Goldfinch, Chair of North Tyneside Business Forum saw the idea working well elsewhere and thought that there was an opportunity to make a difference in her area.

“I’ve seen a lot of businesses and members of the community come together to make the bags. It’s been like a business in itself, with a sewing team, admin support and an effective delivery and pick up system for donated material and the finished bags themselves at the hospitals. It’s a great example of businesses and the community working hand in hand.

“Everyone is maintaining the social distancing rules and drop off points have been allocated in easy to access places so that they can be dropped off while people are on their daily walk near food shops. I’m pleased to help coordinate the effort, using both our Forum members and also my own business skills, and I’m very proud of everyone involved.”

As well as the 3500 bags, the team have made hundreds of comfort hearts to give to families split up in hospitals and care homes.

“Everyone is a volunteer, and we are looking for more people to help with the making of the bags as well as donations of material too. Ideal materials include duvet, curtains and even pyjamas,” said Kim.

Anyone wanting to help can contact: Facebook page – Making for the NHS North of Tyne or email makingforthenhs@gmail.com

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