Perthshire church gets crafty with uniform laundry bags for NHS staff

Members of Pitlochry Church of Scotland, as well as people of all ages across their local community, have been busy producing drawstring laundry bags for local NHS Tayside staff to put their uniforms in.

Project co-ordinator Rachael is pictured with some of the uniform laundry bags
The project co-ordinator, Rachael, is pictured with some of the 120 bags recently delivered to Perth Royal Infirmary which were “very gratefully received”.

The project co-ordinator, Rachael Wood, got the idea for the bags from Facebook.

"I saw on Facebook that volunteers around the country were sewing individual laundry bags for uniforms and scrubs," Rachael Wood, who is co-ordinating the project, said.

"Everyone in the NHS is working so hard just now to protect and help everyone, and our group feel that they need someone to help protect them and their loved ones as well.

"Pitlochry Church of Scotland knew that lots of our ladies like to sew and are very talented but are isolated at home with time on their hands.

"We put out a call for help through our church Facebook page and volunteers started to come forward immediately.

"It started with ladies from the church, but many other people from our local community over quite a wide area (as far as Crieff) have now come forward as volunteers.

"They are providing their own fabric, ribbon, cord and their time and talents as a thank you to the NHS for working so hard for all of us.

"After work, NHS staff can put their uniform straight into the bag, and then the washing machine, to avoid possibly contaminating anything at home.

"It's something that people can do to help support the staff, because people want to help."

Rachael runs a local shop and, like the majority of business owners, is facing "an uncertain future".

"Like many others in Pitlochry, my shop, The Christmas Emporium, is currently closed, but my priority at the moment is to support those who are looking after us so well in our hospitals, so have now taken on the role of co-ordinator in Highland Perthshire for this project."

Rev Mary Haddow, the minister at Pitlochry Church of Scotland, said.

"A nurse from NHS Tayside who lives in Pitlochry took 120 bags down to Perth Royal Infirmary last Friday and came back with a request for 200 more.

"Over the weekend 140 were made and dropped off ready to be taken down to Perth. The nurse said: ‘Thank you so much. Our staff is so grateful. Mine has been used today and is just perfect.'

"Some people have sewing machines but no material and so those who don't sew, or no longer sew, are donating material which is being left on the doorsteps of those who request it.

"One of the local shops which designs and makes clothes, as well as curtains, has also donated material."

An ‘overwhelming' response across the local area

Rev Mary Haddow said the church has been inundated with support from the local community, and encourages other churches take up a similar project if they can.

"I would suggest that this is a great way for church and community to come together to do something practical at a time when people would like to give support to others, but aren't sure how or what to do.

"It is a straightforward project and can involve people across the generations.

"We have been overwhelmed by the response we have had from people. It's amazing to see what they have done in just a few days.

"We have had other local hospitals asking for bags, as well paramedics and care workers, so we are trying our best to help them out.

"You can make the bags out of anything, old sheets, duvets and even old t-shirts.

"But, we do ask that the bags are made of cotton, or have a high cotton content, so they don't shrink in the wash, that they have a drawstring around the top, and are washed at 60 degrees before they are given away. This way all bacteria are killed off."

A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership said: "We are very grateful to the wider community for providing us with these laundry bags.

"The donated laundry bags will reduce the risk of cross contamination and infection in staff homes when they take soiled uniforms home to wash.

"It will also avoid staff using plastic carrier bags, which contributes to helping the environment."

Craft your own uniform laundry bag

If you would like to create your own uniform laundry bags, this is the Youtube tutorial that Pitlochry Church of Scotland has shared.

The bags need to be pillowcase size with a drawstring top and able to put on a 60 degree wash. The size is to be around 18 x 20 inches.

If you are local to Pitlochry Church of Scotland, you can find out how to donate fabric or home-made uniform laundry bags on their Facebook page.

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