HOME sewers in Wyre Forest have answered frontline workers’ calls for donations of drawstring bags to safely wash their uniforms during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dozens of handmade wash bags have been donated to NHS staff, police officers, carers and mental health workers across the county thanks to the co-ordinated effort of residents on social media.

Kidderminster teaching assistant Helen Hyrons began making the bags out of pillowcases and ribbon in response to an appeal from Worcestershire Royal Hospital staff to avoid workers spreading germs by carrying uniforms home after their shifts.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Helen Hyrons with one of the pillowcase wash bagsHelen Hyrons with one of the pillowcase wash bags

The 36-year-old, who works at St Catherine’s Primary School, has since delivered more than 50 wash bags to frontline staff after enlisting the help of others through Facebook.

Helen said: “I saw a post from Worcester Hospital saying we need these wash bags and wanted to help.

“I rang Kidderminster Police and they said they would like some too so I put a post on Facebook asking for materials.

“Loads of people started offering ribbon and fabric and a few asked if they could help. We’ve got four people making them now.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Dave Mottershead, of St Catherine's Primary School, receiving a donation of wash bagsDave Mottershead, of St Catherine's Primary School, receiving a donation of wash bags

“I was having to order a lot of cotton and I’m a single mum so I can’t really afford to keep doing that, so I set up a page where people can donate, even if it’s just a pound. People have been so generous already.

“The wash bags mean that key workers, once they finish their shift, can put their uniforms in a wash bag - rather than a plastic bag which carries a lot of germs - and throw the whole thing into the washing machine without having to touch them or spread germs around their home.”

In just three days, Helen has delivered 21 wash bags to nurses at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, 20 to St Catherine’s Primary School, and 20 to Kidderminster Police Station.

Helen’s team of sewers have also received orders from two Wyre Forest care companies, the community mental health team and psychiatric departments. Another 40 are set to be delivered to Worcestershire Royal Hospital on Friday.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: One of the pillowcase wash bagsOne of the pillowcase wash bags

They also have plans to make headbands with buttons to secure face masks for hospital staff.

More than 100 wash bags have also been donated to emergency department staff at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch by members of the Wolverley Stitchers sewing group.

Hannah Wilson, deputy director of nursing and therapies at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “Thank you to everyone who has kindly made and donated handmade uniform bags to our teams. The bags enable our staff to pack away, transport and wash their dirty uniforms safely, without risk of contamination.

“All of the donations and well wishes we have received from our local communities have brightened the day for many of our staff who continue to work exceptionally hard to care for our patients during these unprecedented times.”

Bromsgrove Advertiser: A police uniform in one of the pillowcase wash bagsA police uniform in one of the pillowcase wash bags

Wyre Forest Police Inspector Dave King added: “It was a lovely and very thoughtful surprise to have a number of homemade drawstring bags delivered to our police station for officers to put their worn uniforms in.

“At a time when we all need to me mindful of cleanliness and hygiene to have a member of the public take the time to make our officers something so very important was wonderful.

“There is a very real sense of community here in Kidderminster and we are all pulling together to help beat Coronavirus and I want to thank Helen Hyrons for thinking of us all here.”

People can donate towards materials for the bags here or join the sewing effort by emailing hyrons5@hotmail.co.uk.