Harrogate Scrubbers

Posted on: Tuesday 21 Apr 2020

Facebook group ‘Harrogate Scrubbers’ has been launched by Fran Taylor in response to the national shortage of scrubs. NHS staff who previously didn’t require scrubs, urgently need help to keep work/home clothing separate, protecting both them and their families. Gaining over 200 followers and raising over £4.5k in the first 24hrs, the group has committed to make 700 scrubs for staff working in the Harrogate area to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Fran, who has taught maths at St John Fishers High School for over 10yrs launched the group in conjunction with Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT), which operates Harrogate District Hospital. Liaising with their staff she has agreed to produce scrubs, laundry bags, scrub caps and waterproof gowns.

According to Fran, ‘the community response has been genuinely humbling, with offers of help from people stuck at home, community groups, local companies and professional sewing groups. It has created a team atmosphere and real community spirit, actually giving people a purpose and the ability to feel that they are supporting the NHS both through staying at home, but also doing something productive while they are there.’  She added, ‘even if you can’t sew, we need people to deliver the fabric and patterns to the homes of the people who can help out. We need people who can help cut the huge rolls of fabric in spaces like village halls, volunteers to cover the admin behind the deliveries, and we need supplies donating and money raising. Just £27 will sponsor three full sets of scrubs plus a laundry bag for a hospital worker which will allow them to protect themselves whilst they are working. This money will allow us to buy fabric and our fantastic network of volunteer sewers, drivers and distributors will do the rest. These scrubs will be delivered directly to workers at the hospital and will make a massive impact on the fight against Covid19.’

According to Fran anyone can volunteer, you don’t have to be a professional dressmaker, ‘We have furloughed opticians and retired former NHS workers who are sewing from their homes and producing quality items that will save lives. We also have a huge army of volunteer drivers who are so grateful to have a purpose and help other people out; this really is a celebration of people coming together and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.’

Local companies are already backing the initiative including Matthew Stamford from Verity Frearson, ‘We are very happy to back the Harrogate Scrubbers initiative as part of our giving back campaign. Whilst my own sewing skills aren’t up to much, we can help fund the materials needed and promote the scheme to get others involved. Anything we can do to help the local community pull together to drive initiatives like this are very important to us.’

Interior Design firm Furnish & Fettle are also supporting the campaign providing over 800m of fabric and getting the team to join in with sewing and deliveries. Owner Eleanor Goddard stated, ‘We are delighted to be able to do something to support the NHS and utilise the supplies we have in stock. This is a brilliant way for us to give something back and thank all those on the frontline.’

White Rose Sewing in Harrogate are also supporting the scheme and have offered to help with supplying some of the materials. Owner Phillip Pearson added ‘we are more than happy to help promote this scheme to all our sewing customers to encourage their support and get people involved. We have a range of sewing machines in stock if people don’t have one, and can also collect and repair them, so we are able to support the people taking part if they have any problems.’

HDFT’s Chief Operating Officer and Accountable Emergency Officer, Robert Harrison, said: ‘We are overwhelmed by the public response to supporting both the NHS and our local hospital and staff. The ability to change out of work clothes, wash everything at 60 degrees and avoid any cross contamination is becoming increasingly important as the number of patients in hospitals grow. Community initiatives like this are very welcome, as there simply aren’t enough supplies to cover all staff. We are very grateful for the support of members of the public – thank you to the wonderful local community for your support for the NHS.’

Roles and items needed include:

  • People who can sew both scrubs and bags to put them in
  • People able to deliver and collect the fabric and scrubs
  • Donations of money to help buy the fabric and accessories
  • Donations of plain lightweight polycotton fabric or new sheets
  • Volunteers to cut the fabric into packs and prepare them
  • Printers to print the patterns to go in the packs

To donate, visit: https://tinyurl.com/harrogatescrubbers

Join the Facebook group:  www.facebook.com/groups/harrogatescrubbers

If you are interested and want to get involved, please join the Facebook group for details. Alternatively, contact Fran directly [email protected].


Fran Taylor (Organiser) – 07876 383135

Phillip Pearson (White Rose Sewing) – 01423 503767

Claire Strachan (PR) – 07941 537425