Theatre’s wardrobe staff receive the latest #WestsideHero awards for making PPE

Two wardrobe staff at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre have been named as the latest recipients of the #WestsideHero awards for helping the NHS with personal protection equipment (PPE).

The REP is temporarily closed because of COVID-19, but Kay Wilton, the theatre’s head of wardrobe, along with her colleague Caroline Mirfin, have started making PPE clothing for staff at Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals.  

Richard Leigh, marketing manager at The REP, said: “I’d like to jointly nominate Kay and Caroline from our wardrobe team.

“As they can’t currently work, they’ve been creating scrubs and gowns for local hospital staff from home. I think they are brilliant!”

Mike Olley, general manager at Westside BID, said: “This is a great effort by Kay and Caroline at The REP, and we are delighted to present them with our #WestsideHero awards, which are well deserved.”

Mr Leigh drew our attention to a blog on the theatre’s website which the wardrobe team’s crucial PPE work. The blog, entitled ‘Help Us To Help The NHS’, said: “With the unprecedented demand on the NHS, The REP is eager to help.

“As many of our staff members are unable to work during the current crisis, they are turning their attention to supporting the NHS and its staff.

“Our wardrobe team have transferred their exceptional skills to helping frontline NHS staff. Kay and Caroline have been tirelessly working from home to make gowns and scrubs for staff at Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals.  

“We have identified two ways that we can help and you may be able to support the efforts.

“Hospitals across the region are in urgent need of PPE so if you have a sewing machine and are willing to make gowns for use as PPE, then please email COVID-19.PPE@bhamcommunity.nhs.uk to register your interest. Materials and patterns will be provided.

“REP staff are collecting linen for the creation of these bags for staff at Sandwell and City Hospitals, [and so] if you have any spare and pass The REP during your daily exercise, you will be able to donate the linen at our stage door on Cambridge Street. Social distancing measures will be in place.

“If you have a large quantity of linen or do not currently exercise near The REP, we may be able to arrange to collect your donation. Please email neil.parkes@birmingham-rep.co.uk for further details about collections.

“The donated linen will then be passed on to volunteers who will create the bags whilst working at a safe distance from others.” ▪ For more details about the scheme, visit https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/news/help-us.html.

Meanwhile, if your organisation would like to nominate a #WestsideHero, email Luisa Huggins at luisa.huggins@westsidebid.co.uk.

By Steve Dyson.

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