A network of voluntary seamstresses has delivered locally-produced scrubs to health staff working for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Scrubs created by seamstresses in South Devon Scrubs AngelsScrubs created by seamstresses in South Devon Scrubs Angels

The South Devon Scrubs Angels handed over one of their orders - 100 of the protective clothing to be worn by community support workers, who deliver care to vulnerable people in their own homes.

Sets were also sent to Torbay Hospital A&E department and maternity.

Iola Weir, a professional costume and prop maker for performance artists, started the group which includes home-based workers in Brixham, Teignmouth and Totnes.

She said: “My professional work is on hold and I want to use my skills as a seamstress. So, when a doctor asked if I could make some scrubs. I started with six and then realised there was a bigger need.”

She set up a Facebook page as a way of reaching anyone who wanted to help supply health workers in the local area by using their needlework skills. She now has a network of 170 mainly women and delivery drivers who also keep homeworkers supplied with materials.

Iola said the seamstresses are also benefiting from the work: “It’s really rewarding for us all to know we are doing something to support the NHS and health workers in all fields. Many of our home workers are socially isolated due to the lockdown and finding it difficult, so keeping occupied is very good for their mental health and wellbeing.”

Fellow network organiser Hilary Smith, a former nurse and community midwife, said: “We are all doing this because we love to sew. Older people in our network who are not able to go out say they like the contact with the world and being useful.”

Helen Davies-Cox from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said: “There is increased demand across the NHS for scrubs, due to Covid-19, so we are delighted to receive these very special purpose-made scrubs, individually made with loving care as a boost to our own stocks.”

Iola thanked local businesses, seamstresses and charities and other funders for all their support. These include Torbay Hospital Nurses League, a GoFundme appeal, local volunteers and businesses in the Torbay, Brixham, Newton Abbot, Exeter and Totnes area.

South Devon Scrubs Angels can be reached through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/southdevonscrubs/