May 15, 2020 – By Tess Hardy
Fundraisers are doing the most to give back to the NHS, restoring hope in health and humanity.
During these dark and difficult times, it’s imperative that we try and spread as much colour and creativity as we can. A growing number of initiatives have successfully been raising funds, fostering awareness for the NHS through crowdfunding. Not only do they aim to protect healthcare workers against the virus; they are also brightening up our community and lifting people’s spirits in the process.
We’ve spoken to those who are creatively supporting the NHS and explored how others can get involved. Collectively, we can make a difference to help those in times of need.
Uniform Tote Bags for NHS Staff
A tote bag is a wardrobe must-have at the best of times, but who knew it would become one of the most sought-after hospital accessories of 2020?
Katie Dougan has been a junior sister for two and a half years and is currently working in a Covid unit in A&E in Brighton. As the main spread of Coronavirus is by taking off your equipment and uniform in the wrong way, Katie decided to create cotton tote bags for NHS staff to prevent the risk of contamination. Having had to previously use plastic bags to transfer clothing, which aggravates the virus, you can now sling the whole bag of uniform straight into the washing machine as soon as you get home.
What started out as a small fundraiser, with a goal to help provide for her A&E department of 400 staff, has now gone viral, giving her the opportunity to discuss her campaign on BBC South East news, raising further awareness. Prior to this, Katie said,
“I was constantly being abused in work because of waiting times and not enough staff or room for patients…now everyone’s being really appreciative, it’s a full 360.”
Having never sewn before learning from YouTube, it takes her 10 minutes per bag and she can make up to 30 in a day, using colourful fabric with bold patterns and prints from Aldi. She encourages people to get involved and give sewing a try. Check out our step-by-step video of how to make a tote bag below and visit Katie’s fundraiser here.
For the Love of Scrubs
Another amazing initiative is, For the Love of Scrubs, founded by A&E nurse, Ashleigh Linsdell, tackling the national shortage of scrubs. Donations are used to purchase appropriate materials before getting them out to volunteers making scrubs for NHS teams. In just one week, they gained 14,000 volunteers and snowballed into a UK-wide movement. The group’s Facebook page has now accumulated over 53K members.
Clothing designer, Jade Page, is one of the valued volunteers making a difference to the daily work life of our NHS heroes. When we spoke with Jade, she said,
“I want to look back on this time and think that I did something worthwhile, even if it was only small.”
Her light blue scrub sets have gone to Peterborough hospital. The bright coloured sets, made out of old duvet covers and children’s bed sheets, are uplifting and fun. They bring joy to nearby hospices. So far, she’s totalled 15 sets and 6 wash bags by printing patterns out online and sourcing fabric from friends and family.
For the Love of Scrubs have raised an astonishing £37,858 via their Just Giving fundraising page to date. If you’d like to volunteer, contact them on their Facebook page here.
Face Masks in Fashion
One of our favourite designers is fashion graduate, Amina Martucci, who’s been in the creative industry for seven years and has her own brand specialising in unisex knitwear and accessories.
Since lockdown, she’s been using swatches of material from previous collections to make face masks for those feeling uneasy going without one. Each mask holds a story and sentimental value for her personally.
You can view Amina’s face masks on Depop here.
State of the Art
Of course, we can’t forget the art lovers! Chris Shea is a London based street artist known as State of the Art, from Shirley, Croydon, who’s spray painting garages, houses and buildings with Banksy-style murals.
His iconic ‘Rainbow Boy’ was inspired by the current surge of children’s paintings and watching his son grow. Having dozens of these dotted around the neighbourhood is a fitting tribute and permanent reminder of the positivity emerging from this pandemic.
Chris’ talent has certainly not gone unnoticed; he’s raised £15,831 for the NHS, with a percentage from Rainbow Boy t-shirts going to St. Christopher’s Hospice in Croydon.
Our collective conscience to help NHS heroes is blossoming. The beautiful array and abundance of colour and creativity gives ongoing glimmers of hope in a situation lacking a sense of security. By continuing to spread colour, joy and compassion beyond the pandemic, I am hopeful our efforts to help humankind will live on.