A group of volunteers in Barnet have brought smiles to care home staff with the delivery of over 1,000 home-made cotton bags. First Team spoke to colleagues from the Care Homes and Extra Care Housing Team about why this has made them happy too.
Having a bag to carry care uniforms to work and back home again to wash doesn’t sound very glamorous, but a collaboration between our staff and a band of dedicated volunteers have turned these washday bags from mundane to beautiful.
The opportunity to access home-made bags for care home staff came via North Central London (NCL) Quality Groups supporting care homes across the region. Jane Flynn, Quality in Care Advisor, was initial link for the project, supported by Laxmi Mistry, Contract Monitoring Officer, and they liaised directly with Jessica Woodroffe, who was working with the other volunteers to co-ordinate the making and distribution of the bags. The volunteers had already been providing the uniform bags to some care homes and hospitals across the other North Central London local authorities.
Jane says: “Jessica, one of the volunteers, has been co-ordinating a very successful and useful project to provide our care staff in Barnet care and extra care homes with laundry bags to take their uniforms home safely.
“Jessica and a team of community volunteers who are neighbours in East Finchley have been tirelessly making the bags and delivering them directly to the homes.
The bags are practical, as the uniforms go into the bags and, once the care staff are home, the bag and the uniforms can go straight into the washing machine reducing risk of contamination. The volunteers range in age from the youngest, Cassie, aged 13, up to those who are retired. One is a retired tailor, Vrajlal; who started work sewing in Mumbai aged 13, to support his family. The East Finchley group have been joined by friends and neighbours and are working with the Barnet Sewing Group on some deliveries. They also made over 1,000 bags for hospital staff and other care homes prior to helping Barnet care homes.
“So far there has been a huge demand for the bags, we have had orders for 1,452 laundry bags, with 1,201 bags already delivered and 200 more bags that have been made by the volunteers ready to go out.”
Contract Monitoring Officer Laxmi Mistry says: “The care providers absolutely love the bags. What I love is the feelgood factor. The workers get so much out of using the bags, and we feel good to be part of doing something that helps lift people’s spirits at work. And the volunteers too, even putting in their own time making the bags at home.”
The manager at Lansdowne Care Home, Geoffrey Odur, wrote:
“Thank you so much for supplying us with laundry bags. They are beautiful. You have put smiles to our faces. Our staff truly love them. It’s being distributed to all the team for their use. It’s also nice that they are of different colours, everyone seems to be getting their favourites.”