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Swapping silks for scrubs: racing colours manufacturer helping NHS heroes

Staff at leading silks maker Allertons have been volunteering to help the NHS by creating scrubs
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Leading racing silks supplier Allertons has seen its colours carried to victory by many racing heroes through the years, but now the company is working to help those most worthy of hero status, providing hundreds of sets of scrubs to the NHS for free.

The Oxfordshire-based company contacted the NHS to offer its support for frontline workers when British racing was suspended in March, with the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) gladly accepting the help.

After several meetings and sample tests, SWFT placed an order of 800 garments for hospitals in Warwick, Leamington Spa, Stratford, and Shipton-on-Stowe.

The Allertons team, made up of 14 volunteers, produces roughly 100 garments per week, with their efforts hugely appreciated by those fighting Covid-19 on the frontline.

"We are extremely grateful for everything Allertons have done," said Valerie Quelch, assistant general manager of hotel services for SWFT.

"They have produced something for us which is of a high quality and has been truly, truly appreciated by the staff here. The scrubs are really well-made and are a fantastic fit, we’ve had nothing but positive feedback."

She added: "Following the outbreak of Covid-19, everyone was after scrubs and they were extremely hard to get a hold of, so NHS Trusts were coming up with measures to get more into the system.

"A large group of final year medical students were seconded to SWFT to assist and ease pressure on our Junior doctors during the coronavirus pandemic. The team that arrived with us has all passed their final year exams and were due to commence their careers as junior doctors in August.

Allertons has been making scrubs that reduce the risk of NHS workers carrying the virus home

"We have been able to use the Allertons stock to clothe every single one of those doctors."

The scrubs created by Allertons are worn underneath PPE as uniform at hospitals, with any possible remnants of the virus killed when the garments are washed at 60 degrees or higher.

This means staff do not have to wear normal clothes around the hospital and can reduce their chances of taking Covid-19 back to their homes.

Allertons managing director Adrian Wray said: "During these tough times, to be able to give something back to the community is huge for us. We are very grateful to find people from within the NHS who wanted our help, and it feels fantastic to be able to give it to them without charge."

Allertons: efforts are being appreciated by NHS staff

He added: "The staff here at Allertons have been incredible, they’ve pretty much done it off their own back.

"They found the fabric, raised the order for the fabric and got it delivered, and they have all volunteered their furlough time to create the patterns, cut the fabric, iron all of the components, machine them together, pack them and drive them up to Warwick Hospital."

Kelly Griffin, a cutter at Allertons, was delighted to volunteer during this challenging time.

"Everyone is happy to volunteer for the NHS because what they always do, and are doing at the moment, is amazing," she said.

"It's lovely to give back something to them rather than taking all the time."

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They have produced something for us which is of a high quality and has been truly, truly appreciated by the staff here
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