Wellbeing mentor Pauline Greig, who is based at the Hastings campus of East Sussex College, is currently shielding and was motivated to help the relief efforts after a chance conversation with a friend who works in the maternity unit at the Conquest in Hastings.
Pauline put her craft skills into action and to make protective headbands to protect ears from the elastics of PPE, and wash bags for NHS staff to put their uniform in straight after a shift.
She said: "As a wellbeing mentor, being told to stay home for 12 weeks was gutting as my default position is 'how can I help?'. Making these items to support our frontline staff meant I could help from home while keeping myself and everyone else safe.”
The first batch of headbands and wash bags were distributed among staff at the Conquest.
Pauline then took to social media to ask friends and colleagues to donate materials including elastic, one-inch buttons and pillowcases.
It was not long before Pauline received donated materials - including buttons from someone in Essex - and support in making the headbands too.
She has now produced 62 headbands, 32 mask bands and 31 scrubs wash bags.
“I’m no longer a solo sewer - I have a small team,” Pauline added.
“I now have colleagues from our Eastbourne and Lewes campuses helping me sew, so it’s turning into a real college group thing.
"I’ve also had some pretty material donated - the midwives loved the Disney Asristocats headbands I made. Someone also asked if I had a Just Giving page - and I directed them to the Hastings Sport and Public Services #ESC1900 page as I don't have one myself.”
A midwife at Hastings Conquest said: “Pauline’s idea is ingenious. Without the headbands, our ears are so sore from wearing the masks, so we are all grateful to have them. All the coloured patterns brighten up the wards - and even the patients compliment us on them.”
Pauline’s charitable work is ever-growing. She is now speaking to a midwife at the DGH in Eastbourne so items can be sent there too. She is also in contact with the Eastbourne Chemotherapy Unit, who are temporarily located at the Eastbourne campus of the college.
Pauline added: “Keeping busy and supporting the local NHS during this crisis has been great for my own wellbeing too.”
If you have material you would like to donate, please contact Pauline directly on [email protected]