MICHELLE O’Neill is set to meet members of NI Scrubs groups who have made over 50,000 items of PPE for frontline healthcare workers during Covid-19 outbreak.
NI Scrubs was founded by Omagh woman Clara Maybin in March when she began collecting scrubs for healthcare workers after concerns were raised about the lack of PPE for medical staff.
Clara put an appeal online, and since then, the group has grown beyond belief.
Around 20,000 sets of scrubs, 18,000 scrub bags, 12,000 masks and 3,000 hats have been made over the past seven weeks.
There are currently 8,500 people from across the North in the Facebook group with many people working as cutters, stichers, delivering and administration.
Tomorrow (Friday), Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill will meet with members of the group at the NI Scrubs base in Dungannon to witness first-hand the extensive work of the group.
Speaking to the Herald, Clara Maybin said, “We invited Michelle O’Neill along to her local NI scrubs base in Dungannon to show her the sheer volume of work that is going into our scrub making operation we’ve built up over the last seven weeks.
“To date we will have made close to 20,000 sets of scrubs across Northern Ireland, 18,000 scrub bags, 12,000 masks and 3,000 hats.
“We have serviced NHS staff, community teams and care homes and many more who are in need.
“There’s been a huge demand which is a sad reflection on the government but shows you that Northern Ireland is a nation of stitchers with an amazing array of talent.
“Without these people, none of this would be possible.
“To the cutters, designers and delivery folk, everyone has played an imperative role in making NI Scrubs the success it has been.”
Clara added that in Omagh and Fermanagh alone, they have made over 2,500 sets of scrubs, but some groups are beginning to wind up operations.
“I started this with the intentions of helping a few people, but didn’t know there was so many people who needed help,” she said.
“Some groups have stopped taking orders because of the sheer volume that they have had to process.
“Some stitchers have been doing this for seven or eight weeks, and I can imagine they have very sore hands.
“Some people are gladly putting the sewing machine away, but if you do still want to keep sewing, you can. We will keep a little community together in Northern Ireland.
“I am getting a lot of reports with people saying they do not want this to stop as it has helped their mental health and also getting through isolation with this to do everyday.
“That is amazing.
“It is great that we have helped frontline staff, but we are also helping people who are isolating and at home,” concluded Clara.
• For more information, visit Scrubs NI on Facebook.