Renowned Michelin star chef Ashley Palmer-Watts has backed a fundraising initiative to provide scrubs for NHS staff.
The culinary maestro, who spent 20 years working alongside Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck Group, recorded a video (below) urging people to support a Kent affiliate of the ‘For the love of Scrubs’ campaign, set up nationally to provide workwear for hospital staff on the frontline.
Mr Palmer-Watts said it was vital for NHS workers to receive the PPE they need at this unprecedented time, adding that £7 can buy enough material to be made into a set of scrubs.
Foodservice consultant Gareth Sefton is coordinating the fundraising effort after his wife became involved in making the scrubs for hospitals around London.
They hope to raise £15,000 to make around 2,000 scrubs, but require more donations to get them over the line.
Mr Sefton told FEJ: “We originally had a target of £7,500, which we estimated should make us about 1,000 scrubs, and we reached that within five days. We have now put the target up to try and double the amount we can produce. The price of fabric for scrubs is going up all the time unfortunately, but we would love to reach that £15,000 mark. It has been an incredible response so far.”
Renowned Michelin star chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, recorded this message of support for our efforts to make scrubs for the NHS! Please watch and donate if you can!
— For the Love of Scrubs – NW Kent (@FTLOS_NWKent) April 17, 2020
As well as the video from Mr Palmer-Watts, other well-known faces have taken to social media to raise awareness of the effort, including F1 ace Mark Blundell, motor journalist Dickie Meaden, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Grace Reid and British diver Noah Williams.
And in a show of industry solidarity, Mr Sefton’s former colleagues at Tricon Foodservice Consultants – now a competitor to his company SHW Design, of course – kindly donated 25 sets of patterns. “Even old industry foes are getting together in this hour of need!” he joked.
A team of 18 machinists based in Kent have volunteered to create the scrubs from home, while other helpers have been making tie-back hats and laundry bags.
Meanwhile, every individual that makes a donation to the cause will have their name sewn into the garments.
“On average at the moment, everyone will have their name in four sets of scrubs – we just go up and down the list,” said Mr Sefton. “It is a nice gesture for people who have donated and I think if someone at the NHS is putting the scrubs on in the morning and they see someone’s name in it, it makes it more personable. They can see someone has actually contributed for them to wear it.”
The campaign’s progress can be followed on a Facebook group that has been set up called ‘For the love of scrubs – NW Kent’.
The Twitter accounts @FTLOS_NWKent and @shw_design are also keeping track of the campaign’s work, along with the Instagram accounts @ftlosnwkent and @gareth_sefton.