Features

Scrubbing up

Xenia, one of the volunteers for the 'Southgate NHS Scrubs Bags' community group
Xenia, one of the volunteers for the ‘Southgate NHS Scrubs Bags’ community group

Ros Lucas has been volunteering with a community sewing group in Southgate to help NHS workers during the pandemic

It was in April that Lesley asked – via the Nextdoor website – for volunteers to make scrub bags, so that all NHS staff and carers in the community had something to carry their scrubs and gowns in.

A WhatsApp group was set up by Sylvana who volunteered herself as an administrator, as well as a delivery courier, together with her daughter Ellie-Rose who, as a beginner, quickly became adept at using a sewing machine. Xenia, an ex-student of a teacher who was volunteering, proved to be an excellent motivator and the most productive crafter of bags and face masks – she even started making some for local pharmacies and others who requested them.

Our group grew in number to 19 listed volunteers, ranging in age from 14 to more than 80 years old, with offers of materials, sewing and delivering,. Material was also very generously donated to us from a local clothing manufacturer, Fosby of London. Other material came with a great deal of sentimental value – one lady donated bedsheets made by her late father. Another donated the material used to wrap a last gift given from a loved one, bringing her comfort in knowing it would be used as a scrubs bag for the NHS.


This story is published by Enfield Dispatch, Enfield's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.


As materials ran short for a while, one of our volunteers, a supporter of Saracens Rugby Club, persuaded the club to donate one thousand surplus flags! This sped up our output because the seams on the flags were already finished. There have been other problems to overcome – broken sewing needles or other issues, for which the more experienced people in the group have found solutions. We have also expanded to make other items such as masks and scrubs themselves.

With well over 1,000 bags having now been delivered, letters of thanks from those who received them have been very pleasing and the whole group continues to be supportive of each other, even those who, for one reason or another, have had to stop. Overall it has been a fantastic example of neighbours in the community coming together to achieve something special.


No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

In celebration of Indie News Week, Public Interest News Foundation's Indie News Fund will match fund all donations, including new annual supporter subscriptions for the month of June.

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.  

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or yearly 

More Information about donations