The “Forces Scrub Hub” unites the local community to provide scrubs for military medical staff.
The walls and wires of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), like any other military base around the country, enable the men and women working there to carry out their jobs and training in a safe environment. Sometimes though, members of the local community are often left wondering what goes on “behind the wire”?
Sandhurst has always been strongly rooted in the community, and each year opens its gates for Heritage Day, which over 10,000 people visited last year. Now, the team at the RMA Sandhurst Coworking Hub have found another focus for their enthusiasm and community spirit.
With many of their members furloughed, or their businesses slowing down due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the team have converted their coworking hub into the ‘Forces Scrub Hub at RMAS’.
Hub team leader Kelly Pollard says she was inspired by the work of Lynda Yong & Sunita Shroff at Scrubs Glorious Scrubs. “I saw on Facebook that Scrubs Glorious Scrubs were doing an amazing job of getting people to sew scrubs for Frimley Park Hospital and it made me realise that the medics on the camp at Sandhurst were probably facing the same problem”.
RMAS is the home to Robertson House, where newly qualified doctors go to complete the army phase of their training, and it is also home to many medics working at Frimley Park Hospital, where there has long been a close relationship between the Ministry of Defence and the NHS.
With the new regulations meaning that doctors can no longer wear their regular clothes, and the need for washing scrubs after every shift, military medics have faced the same worries about shortages of scrubs as the rest of the medical profession.
The project kicked off with Sandhurst Support Unit generously ordering scissors and material for Kelly and her small team of 5 cutters and 5 sewers to get started with. Before long they were itching to produce more, and to pick up momentum they sent out a plea to the local community for donations of material.
Donations of not only material, but time and effort came in thick and fast and the team started off making scrubs and hats from duvet covers and pillow cases. Since then they have been able to place larger orders for material thanks to a generous donation from The Scrubs Glorious Scrubs team who donated some of the money that was raised for them by Noah Evans (son of TV and radio legend Chris Evans) camping out in his back garden for 28 days — he has raised an incredible £1.2m so far and that figure is still rising.
In just 2 weeks the team have created a huge buzz around the Station and the local area. The Forces Scrub Hub now has a team of over 200 cutters, sewers, washers and drivers all pulling together to produce not only scrubs, but also hats, visors, and scrub bags so that everything can be removed at the end of the shift, put straight into a bag and the whole bag can then be put straight into the washing machine to reduce the risk of contamination at home.
They even have a local shop where volunteers can pick up their material and drop off their finished items, or drop off donations of material. Audrey Meek from TC Tech Repairs in Sandhurst, kindly volunteered her store to be the local focal point for the project and this has allowed the scale of the project to really take off.
Military Coworking Hubs are created to overcome social isolation and create a community where spouses can go to work, and Kelly has said that the sense of community from this project has been overwhelming. “We have had people thanking us for organising the project, when they are the ones doing the hard work, cutting and sewing! So many people have told us that it has given them a real sense of purpose and something to focus on whilst in lockdown, and made people feel like they are not powerless; they can do something that really helps their local community fight this battle”.
The team have been inundated with people asking how they can help, even if they are not a natural with a needle and thread. From Tom at Snow Windows who has given the shop window a scrub hub theme and Dave Richardson, who has produced over 100 visors on his 3D printer, to the team of volunteers driving around collecting and delivering to those who are self-isolating but still want to help out; everyone is doing their bit. People have felt so inspired to join in that they’ve even gone out and bought new machines!
Other thanks must go to the hub members who are tirelessly (and safely!) promoting and co-ordinating this project, as well as picking and packing the material ready to go out to the community sewers and cutters; Sarah-lee Craycraft, Bec Brocklesby, Pauline Andrews and Sarah Sawyer. If there are any positives to be found from this crisis then this sense community spirit, not felt on this scale since the end of the war, should certainly be one of them.
To find out more: https://www.facebook.com/ForcesScrubHub/
To join the team of volunteers: Forces Scrub Hub at RMAS Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/593889077886753/
To donate to the Scrub Hub GoFund Me Page for materials: