Craft group’s PPE work

Four Years after helping their community hit by floods volunteers are now supporting frontline workers to tackle the Coronavirus.

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 9:54 am

Volunteers of the award-winning Tadcrafters have been drafted in, this time to make personal protective equipment for workers and their colleagues in the NHS and other care settings in the area.

“Due to the lack of supplies it has fallen on local volunteers to come to the rescue of the providers of our public services and the people we rely on to look after our elderly and the most vulnerable members of our society,” said a spokesman for the Tadcaster-based group.

“We have all heard about how difficult it has been for our frontline workers to obtain the essential items they need to keep them safe.”

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The Tadcrafters volunteers have stepped in to help bridge the gap and show their appreciation of the sacrifices these workers and their families make.

A Tadcrafter director, Sandra Levitt, has been co-ordinating a team of 10 who are making scrubs.

“It’s been a challenge and it’s taken over my life in the past couple of weeks, but it feels great to be creating something so useful whilst doing what is essentially my hobby.”

The Tadcrafters have been working in conjunction with other groups making the vital workwear across Yorkshire including York and Boston Spa.

A team of 15 Tadcrafters has also been making uniform wash bags which have been made to safely transport contaminated work clothes straight to workers’ washing machines. The bags and their contents can be washed together.

Evi Matless Estate Manager of Popple Well Springs care home in Tadcaster said: “A huge thank you to Su and all the team for supplying my on-site care team with uniform wash bags. What a fantastic idea and greatly appreciated.”

During April, in addition to a large number of of ear protectors (to wear with face masks) and knitted hearts for bereavement services, Tadcrafters made and donated 62 sets of scrubs for Leeds and York hospitals and about 400 uniform wash bags.

These have been donated to frontline workers in organisations such as St James Hospital, the LGI, Harrogate, Pinderfields, Airedale and York Hospitals, GP practices in Leeds and York, a Community Mental Health team, community support workers looking after vulnerable people in their own homes, and care homes in the local area.

There have also been many more people using Tadcrafters’ instructions to make and donate any number of additional bags.

In a note to Tadcrafters, a York Doctor, said: “Today I was back on our intensive care unit at York Hospital and was delivered the beautiful handmade bags that you made so we could take our potentially contaminated work wear home safely. The bags were so popular and it was really thoughtful of you.”

A lot of the focus has been on hospitals but many other organisations have also been struggling to get the PPE.

Paula Morris of York Medical Group said: “I gave them out to our Doctors and Nurses today. Without a doubt they are the best ones we’ve had. I’ve been able to give two to the people working in the hot hubs which is really important.

Over the years Tadcrafters has developed a network of volunteers and before the lockdown, they were starting to develop a new group in Sherburn-in-Elmet.

New volunteers have joined the group recently and have managed to support many of the smaller local organisations that carry out important work.

Tadcrafters, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, was founded by Su Morgan back in 2016 in response to the devastating floods which damaged the bridge over the river Wharf in Tadcaster, famously splitting the town in two.

“The idea was just the cheer the town up a bit with some bunting,” explained Su.

“I never imagined that we would still be needed in 2020 and to carry out such an important role in supporting our community.”

After bringing on board directors Lynne Howard and Sandra Levitt, the group has grown, enabling people to make a difference by using their skills to create useful items which are donated to hospitals, charities and other worthy causes.

“Our volunteers normally make many things at home as well as meet once a month at The Barn, in Tadcaster, but our next session is going to have be held by Zoom,” said Sandra.

As the need for PPE subsides, the group is launching a more contemplative community project.

Volunteers are planning to create a wall hanging to celebrate the people of Tadcaster with people of all ages, and genders, joining in by making a 15cm/6” square that represents themselves, a loved-one, a feature or an organisation in the town.

When the lockdown is lifted, the finished squares are to be made into a display to commemorate this unusual time.

“I am so pleased to hear about the patchwork project,” said Tadcaster Town Mayor Coun Steve Cobb.

“We are all affected in different ways by this unique and, frankly, scary situation.

“The wall hanging in the Barn will help us celebrate how the residents of the Town and surrounding villages came together and looked out for each other in so many ways.