The Sunderland sewers making hundreds of scrub bags and face masks for NHS staff

A community of Sunderland sewers have made hundreds of masks and scrub bags for those fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
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Residents and small business owners in Sunderland have joined the fight to help provide much-needed equipment for NHS workers and care home staff on the frontline of the crisis.

Tailor Frankie Bulmer – who owns The Little Sewing Mill in Chester Road – has made around 500 scrub bags, as well as face masks and mask adapters for staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

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With her business currently closed due to the lockdown when she was contacted by some of the nurses to say they were in need of bags for putting their scrubs in the wash, Frankie offered to make them for free.

Frankie Bulmer, owner of The Little Sewing Mill, Sunderland with some of the scrub bags and masks she has made.Frankie Bulmer, owner of The Little Sewing Mill, Sunderland with some of the scrub bags and masks she has made.
Frankie Bulmer, owner of The Little Sewing Mill, Sunderland with some of the scrub bags and masks she has made.

Running out of material, she put out a request for donations on the Pallion Action Facebook Group and was ‘overwhelmed’ by the response – with more people volunteering to help her sew the items.

“It was amazing the amount of material that was donated, it was overwhelming,” said Frankie, 49.

“I’m not alone in this, there is a fabulous sewing and crafting community in Sunderland and we’re all working together to try and meet the demand – It’s like our own little sewing bee we all keep in touch with each other.

Frankie Bulmer has made hundreds of scrub bags and masks for the NHS.Frankie Bulmer has made hundreds of scrub bags and masks for the NHS.
Frankie Bulmer has made hundreds of scrub bags and masks for the NHS.
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“There’s a lovely community feel at the moment with people all pulling together to help.”

As well as Frankie and six volunteers, other Sunderland-based sewing and craft shops including Daydream Sewing and Crafts, Dot Cotton’s and LuLu’s Craft Shop have been stitching non-stop in the last few weeks and delivering them to Sunderland hospital.

Between them they are also supplying the items to staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead and the RVI in Newcastle, as well a number of care homes in the region.

“It’s a little lift for people as well, some of us have had to close our businesses but many people are retired and just want to help out,” added Frankie.

Some of the masks Frankie has made for frontline workers.Some of the masks Frankie has made for frontline workers.
Some of the masks Frankie has made for frontline workers.
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“You hear about big companies doing things all the time – we can’t compete with them but we’re just doing our bit and every little helps.”

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Adapters for face masks made by Frankie and other volunteers.Adapters for face masks made by Frankie and other volunteers.
Adapters for face masks made by Frankie and other volunteers.

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