May 14, 2020
In these strange and difficult times, it’s been the kindness of strangers which has pulled this nation together.
One individual who has been going above and beyond is seamstress, and New Leaf participant, Lily.
After years of working behind the scenes on large West End productions, Lily lost her way following the loss of her husband. Unsure of how to return to work, Lily turned to New Leaf. A New Leaf volunteer advisor encouraged her to volunteer her skills to not only help others, but to allow Lily to meet new people and increase her confidence.
This gave her the push she needed to start applying for paid work again. Lily’s talents were immediately spotted by the production team at Manchester Opera House who offered her work on the Phantom of the Opera tour as part of their backstage costume department.
Unfortunately, the global pandemic forced the world to a standstill. With the production on hold, so was Lily’s dream job. However, she wasn’t going to let this bring down her spirit.
With a newly discovered passion for using her skills to help benefit others, Lily found her calling in supporting the NHS by making scrubs. She joined the “For the Love of Scrubs” Facebook group, which brought together skilled seamstresses who were volunteering their time and talents to create scrub bags, caps and gowns for frontline workers at The Countess of Chester Hospital.
With the Facebook group inundated, Lily took it upon herself to contact care homes in Chester to see if they needed their support and so, “Lily’s Sewing Bees” was created.
“The manager of the care home was taken aback that I was offering to get her some scrubs for the carers. Now I am in the middle of sorting through materials that have been donated, creating cutting paper patterns for our sewers and coordinating volunteer delivery drivers.”
“I’m overwhelmed by the amount of people who have shown interest. I’m all for recycling and I feel this is a great way to make sure really useful items that are badly needed by local care workers”
Not only is Lily’s Sewing Bees helping our deserving front-line workers, but it’s also having a positive effect on the volunteers, bringing together likeminded individuals which might never have met under normal circumstances, albeit at a distance.
The efforts of Lily and her Bees hasn’t gone unnoticed. Earlier in the month, Lily received a letter from Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs:
“You, and each of your team of volunteers, should take great pride in what you have done, and in what you continue to do, to help frontline staff at the NHS and in care homes during this emergency.”
If you would like to join Lily and her army of Sewing Bees, or if you have anything you would like to donate, you can find them on nextdoor.co.uk
New Leaf is led by Torus Foundation and is part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and The National Lottery Community Fund.