Diocese of Carlisle

    Bishop James thanks Cumbria’s volunteer scrubs providers

    Latest News
    24 April 2020

    The Bishop of Carlisle - the Church of England's lead bishop on health and social care - has sent his thanks to an army of Cumbrian volunteers who are making scrubs for NHS staff and health workers.

    Up to 300 people across the county have come together through the North and West Cumbria Scrub Hub to sew the scrubs, headbands and scrubs bags, which dirty clothing can be put into before washing.

    The Scrub Hub was set up by Sellafield worker Claire Riley on Good Friday and has since attracted hundreds of helpers through social media platforms. It includes volunteers from across Cumbria providing a countywide coverage.

    Claire explained: “I’m delighted at the response we’ve had to this. I know that I was not coping particularly well with what’s going on at the moment and it was easy to feel down about the situation.

    “But this has given so many people a new focus of attention and a feeling that they are doing something practical to help. There are quite a few of our sewers who are shielding so it’s helped them too through the creation of new friends and links and so they feel less isolated. Of course, it’s ultimately about getting the scrubs to those who need them.”

    Currently the Scrub Hub has 185 scrubs out for sewing, with a total order currently of 600. A further fabric order is about to be placed meaning another 250 sets of scrubs could be cut by the weekend.

    The cut scrubs are transported to the sewers who work on them before they are collected and taken to those places which have placed orders. The Scrub Hub has received orders from individual NHS staff members, some GP practices, care homes and social action programmes.

    A number of churchgoers have also offered their services. The Rev Julia Powley, Priest in Charge of Harrington and Distington, has been busy sewing scrubs bags and has also provided up to 50 face masks for a similar initiative in west Cumbria.

    She explained: “This has been a practical way in which I can give something back to our NHS. I know that there’s been a surge of volunteers who have come forward to help and I’m sure that they are all doing it for the same reason.

    “It’s also about being able to help personally. I know of one person who is autistic and is afraid of masks so I was asked to make one out of Thomas the Tank Engine material because they love the stories. It’s just another way to help.”

    The Scrub Hub has set up a new website at https://www.nwcumbriascrubhub.co.uk/ with NHS staff and frontline workers able to order for free, though donations are welcomed. There are also a number of fundraising pages to help pay for the cost of the specialist scrubs material.

    The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, said: “In such strange and unsettling times it is wonderful to hear how new communities are being formed to offer practical help to others.

    “As lead bishop on health and social care I am well aware of the daily courageous efforts of our frontline NHS staff and health workers. I’m therefore delighted that the Scrub Hub has been created in order to support them. Thank you, all, for what you are doing.

    “As we continue in this period of lockdown and look towards a somewhat unpredictable future, my prayers remain with all those NHS workers who continue to serve selflessly as well as those volunteers involved with the Scrub Hub, and other such initiatives, who have rallied to their cause.”


    For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.