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Coronavirus / Donations campaign provides material for hundreds of scrubs

FUNDRAISING efforts to buy material for scrubs by Lerwick businessman Ghufar Razaq have blown his initial target of £1,000 out of the water.

The owner of Home Furnishing, which sells material and haberdashery among many other things, has raised £11,500 for material that has been made into hundreds of sets of scrubs by volunteers.

According to Razaq, buying through the trade, he is able to deliver nearly £20,000 in goods and materials had it been bought at retail prices.

The poly cotton has to be able to withstand washing at 90 degrees centigrade without shrinking.

As one of the leading suppliers of material for scrubs, he decided to set up his Shetland Community Donations campaign after the Shetland Scrubs appeal was launched. Initially, the Home Furnishing donated its own fabric and elastic from stock.

According to the Shetland Scrubs Facebook page, nearly every care home has now been supplied with scrubs, and the Shetland Community Donations has shifted focus slightly and is supplying more material for face masks.

Some of the face masks that have been locally made.

Face mask kits are being supplied consisting of material for a mask, a design, elastic, interface filters and filter pockets if required.

It has also donated face masks to voluntary workers, carers and the Red Cross.

But the fund could also be put to other uses. “Financially there is going to be a lot of people out there who are in trouble,” he said, so consideration may be given for people who come forward suffering from coronavirus related hardship.

With no end to the pandemic in sight, Razaq has decided to continue the appeal and intends to put any extra money that is raised to the MRI scanner once everything comes to a close.

The entrepreneur said that he has been even busier than usual trying to set up and manage the charitable effort, but that is no bad thing, for his life has been devoted to work and he has little interest in TV.

With all staff furloughed he has also been busy since last week opening the Home Furnishing and neighbouring Bargain Centre for “appointment only” trade, with only one customer in the shop at a time.

He said: “We do not know how long this is going to last and this hits people’s mental health as much as anything.”

As such, supplying goods for pastimes like gardening and cooking, or even simply supplying a comfortable mattress, is an important part in facilitating people’s wellbeing during lockdown, Razaq said.

The store has also continued to be busy supplying local councils, businesses and the NHS with various essentials through the crisis.

Dave Hammond with the scrubs he made. Photo: D. Hammond.

Scrubs manufacturer, Dave Hammond, from Reawick, has made 14 pairs so far. His first venture into sewing was made easier by taking part in a sail making course in Orkney a couple of years ago.

Hammond’s industrial grade sewing machine is intended for sail making and mending rather than clothes work, but does the trick.

He said that a 35m bolt of cloth looked like an awful lot of material, but was enough for only six sets of scrubs.

He said: “They are quite difficult to do and they have got to be up to NHS standards. The first couple I did were not up to scratch – I will keep them for pyjamas.

“A good sewer could do a set in a day, but it takes me two days. I enjoy it but it is quite challenging work.”