Quilt is Unveiled Commemorating Huge Community Effort to Create COVID Scrubs for NHS
A quilt, made by volunteers involved in the charitable effort to make scrubs for NHS staff during the COVID-19 response, has gone on display at Down County Museum.
The quilt was made by members of East Down, Newcastle, Castlewellan ‘NI Scrubs’ and members from the surrounding areas. It was unveiled at the Museum on Thursday 17 November by Councillor Oonagh Hanlon who was representing Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage. Also on display are items which have been donated by Museum visitors and staff to reflect their thoughts and experience of the COVID-19 lockdown and the impact it had on their daily lives.
‘NI Scrubs’ was founded at the beginning of the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 in response to the need for hospital scrubs during the pandemic. Eleven sub-groups of the organisation were set up across Northern Ireland resulting in an army of volunteers making sets of scrubs for their local hospitals. Many local businesses donated fabric and threads for the scrubs in addition to tape and cardboard boxes for the delivery effort. The scrubs were then distributed by volunteers, including a local biker group.
After ten weeks of sewing by over 80 volunteers and with £70,000 in donations, the group produced almost 3,000 scrubs and scrub bags, 2,000 masks, 655 knitted or crocheted ear protectors, 289 gowns, 265 hairbands, 142 knitted hearts placed in each box and paper hearts placed in scrub pockets.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “This quilt represents one example of community action to support our NHS at a time of unprecedented challenge. It demonstrates the power of an idea, the importance of connecting with other people and, the real impact people can have when they come together to make a positive contribution.”
Explaining the idea for the quilt, spokesperson for NI Scrubs, Grainne Quinn said, “Our group wanted to commemorate this work and the idea for the quilt was born. Those who wanted to, made a square which resulted in 60 being made. The names of all the volunteers may be lost with time, but the heartfelt emotion felt by each person will stay with the quilt and in their memories. Each member simply stitched their creative square out of whatever they wanted to, and I would like to give a special mention to textile artist Janet Hackney from Dundrum, who patiently stitched all the individual squares together to form the finished quilt.”
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