On 1 April the Cornwall Scrubs group was created by former Finisterre team member Annie Lucas, to help support the national campaign #ForTheLoveOfScrubs – producing scrubs, surgical caps and other PPE for frontline NHS staff. In just 24 hours the group had over 500 volunteers and at time of writing, more than 1100 people have committed their support.
We became aware of the story through the sheer number of our team who have got involved off their own backs, and Finisterre has now followed up with a donation of over 500 metres of fabric that can be used to make scrubs, caps and portage bags.
In these challenging times it is truly heartening to see the strength and kindness of a community shining through. In just over a week, Cornwall Scrubs has brought together a veritable army of crafters and needle-workers to lend their skills to this worthy cause – and volunteers are still signing up.
Annie Lucas, who set up the Cornish arm of this nationwide effort, worked in our repairs department back in 2012 and 2014. She is leading a small team of project coordinators, including Finisterre’s very own Adele Gingell, who have worked tirelessly alongside their day-jobs to set up systems, source fabrics, web design, fundraise, and manage the 900+ volunteers who are now processing over 400 PPE requests. That small team has worked wonders and, with such a strong sense of community embedded in Finisterre, several members of our team have jumped into action to answer their call for support.
Ali Goodman has been a huge part of the project. A member of our Lived & Loved Repairs team, she is also the owner of Francil Craftwear and has set up a production line in her studio near Penryn. She's designed a simple pattern to help make portage bags, requiring minimal equipment and making it as simple as possible for volunteers to use. She has also been cutting fabric and making up kits to be sent out to volunteers across the county, using donated Finisterre fabric and polybags. This speeds up the process, making it easier for volunteers and getting them the fabric they need to start work.
“The wave of support from all the people involved has been astonishing, and I couldn’t have done this without an amazing core team of volunteers. It’s so nice to do something positive.” – Annie Lucas
Many more from our team have joined Ali and Adele. Strikingly, volunteers have come from all areas of the business. As well as the experienced sewers in our repairs team, those involved span across our departments; photography, merchandising, design, retail, production and e-commerce. So we’d like to give a huge shout out to all those who have taken up this project: Abbi Hughes, Adele Gingell, Ali Goodman, Poppy Barlow, Millie Smith, Sam Taylor, Amy Brock Morgan, Laura Craddock and Danni Dymond – take a bow.
To support the effort, Finisterre has donated over 500 meters of our cotton fabric that can be used by the volunteers, as well as bags to send out the kits, boxes and other packaging materials. We’ve always tried to use every scrap of fabric available in our mission to reduce waste, as anyone familiar with our Fabric Use-Up Project will know, and we feel that this may be one of the best instances of Fabric Use-Up that we’ve ever been involved with.
The project is still welcoming volunteers and you don’t even need to be able to sew to lend a hand. Visit the Cornwall Scrubs Facebook page for more information on how to volunteer or donate.
The work these volunteers are doing to support the incredible frontline NHS staff is a truly worthy cause and we’re happy to be able to help in whatever small way we can.
As another project to help our NHS, Finisterre have launched our first ever t-shirt design competition with 100% of sales going to the NHS Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. Head on over to our Instagram account to see how you can get involved.
Inside Ali's workshop...
Words by Zak Rayment | Images by James Bannister