South & City College Birmingham uses its industrial sewing machines to make NHS grade scrubs


College News and Communications
Monday, 01 June 2020 09:22

EDITED 1

South & City Fashion and Textile staff and student volunteers have been busy two days a week since the 11th of May, making medical grade, reversible scrubs as part of a West Midlands community campaign started by soft furnishings company Loft 25 and Green Lane Mosque in Small Heath.

Medical grade scrubs need to be made using industrial sewing machines, so when Fashion Tutor Carmen Burkett, saw the call for volunteers across Birmingham, she saw the opportunity for staff and students to put the otherwise idle machines to good use. Students from Level 2, 3 and HND courses have volunteered to help and will continue whilst the college campuses are closed due to the lockdown.

Fashion student Charlene Franklin said, “Working on the Loft 25 project with South and City College group has been fun and inspiring. I am grateful that I am able to help and do my part during this pandemic by offering my skills and time to make a difference. Keep fighting NHS, the nation has your back.”

The project came about when Zhagum Arshad, owner of Loft 25 took his industrial machines home from his Birmingham factory at the start of lockdown. A subsequent chance conversation with a doctor about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) within GP surgeries, care homes as well as hospitals, gave him the idea that his machines could be easily used to make them. Mr Arshad approached Green Lane Mosque for assistance and they have provided project management, delivery drivers and other administrative support to get this project up and running successfully. The material has been sourced and donated by Mr Arshad and his factory cuts the material to a pattern, which then get delivered to volunteers to be sewn together.

There are now around 1,000 sewing volunteers across all communities of the West Midlands and 150 delivery drivers. Over 14,000 sets of PPE have been donated primarily to those in need within the West Midlands, however also as far afield as Manchester, Bedford and London.

Saleem Ahmed, Marketing and PR Manager for this campaign said, “Our campaign is very grateful to the hard work and community spirit of the staff and students of South & City College. It’s vital that we are able to continue to make much needed PPE, as there is still a shortage.

“Whilst we have more than enough volunteers within the West Midlands, we are calling for other businesses around the country to replicate our campaign and we would be very happy to help and share what we have learned. Contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on social media.”

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