Oakley Stitchers

If you have a little spare time, can sew, crochet, knit or craft, why not consider becoming part of the team of Oakley Stitchers?

Formed at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, we have been busy making and providing scrubs, caps, masks, scrunchies, headband ear protectors and scrubs bags for our valued key workers. There are things that can be made by any level of sewer, from novice or rusty to competent & confident.

We have been fulfilling requests from right on the doorstep like our own Watership Down doctors & nurses, St Michael’s Hospice, Beech Tree Nursing Home in Overton, Basingstoke Hospital, Frimley Park Hospital, Brixton Prison … and further afield. To date, we have posted over 80 parcels to our front line workers, made over 300 sets of scrubs , sent out over 400 scrub bags, and supplied many users of surgical masks with ear protectors to prevent soreness …… and demand certainly doesn’t look to be slowing down. 🙂

To show our ongoing appreciation to the commitment and protection these amazing people demonstrate daily for us all, we pop in a little handwritten “thank you note” with each set of scrubs. These are created by our local children. We also include a little multipack of biscuits/treats in each parcel sent out (unexpected naughties always seem to make people smile).

In return we have received some really heartwarming, emotional messages and fab photos, and each and every recipient is always so grateful and overwhelmed that we are willing to help them by providing additional/comfortable workwear at this difficult time.

For any non-sewers, we are also making some ‘dementia comforters’ designed for patients who are frightened & confused by the different routines and environments they are experiencing during Covid. We are providing them with something tactile to hold rather than just a bed buzzer. These can be painted, crocheted or knitted… and include little cloth hearts, painted peg dolls, knitted angels, twiddle muffs, tactile octopi, polished wood smiley faces, heart cross-stitches, etc … we are trialling a number of items at the moment. Crocheters can also make ear protectors if they use cotton skeins rather than wool.

Moving forward … We’ve had a request for some smaller masks to be made for the Children’s Ward at Basingstoke, including ‘mini-masks’ so that the kiddies can have one for their doll or teddy.

We have also recently trialled a prototype of a clear mask for medical approval after a request from a consultant whose deaf or hard-of-hearing patients were struggling to lip read. So we are diversifying all the time and trying to respond to as many requests as we can.

We have created a JustGiving page (http://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oakleystitchers) which helps us to provide this service for free to our front liners, as we constantly need more elastic, buttons, cord, as well as help towards postage costs.

Everything you need to join in is outside 53 Hunters Close, RG23 5BG (just by Pack Lane crossroads). We have people who can collect/deliver stuff for anyone who is shielding so don’t let that put you off. 

We are always in need of material, old bedding or large fabric offcuts, anything that is cotton or polycotton and  can be washed at 60 degrees. Funky colours and patterns are great too, the key workers are really enjoying the quirky and flamboyant scrubs and find they are boosting patient morale, so material doesn’t always have to be ‘sensible’ hospital colours. Any donations that you have of material, cotton, elastic, pins, needles, buttons etc are also welcomed in our ‘pop up stock’ at 53 Hunters Close.

We are always mindful that we need to maintain a safe environment for all people that are involved, so do ask that social distancing guidelines are respected when visiting Hunters Close. There is antiviral spray and hand gel to ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible. We ask that you do not attend if you are showing symptoms or have been tested as positive in the last 14 days, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be involved, so do get in touch.

If you would like to know more or join our amazing team, please either find our FB Group “Oakley Stitchers”, email us at oakleystitchers@yahoo.com or ring Caroline on 07876 746995 or Jill on 07769 262336.

An enormous thank you to all our supporters, sewers, donators, cutters and creators for all their ongoing and fantastic support, we couldn’t do it without all of you 😊.

Caroline, Jill and the Oakley Stitchers Team xx