Helping our Hospital Heroes Australia, Deb.

“I’d been to New Zealand so was in isolation at home in Anglesea for 14 days. It was day 4, and it was driving me up the wall. So, when my friend asked me if I could sew some hats for nurses, it gave me a sense of purpose. Now making hats is giving purpose to hundreds of happy sewers and we’re supplying hospitals all over Australia.” We hear from Deb Elliott, Co-ordinator of the Helping our Hospital Heroes Australia Project . Please share! “We ask for amazing volunteers across the country to make hats or donate fabric. The volunteers not only have a sense of purpose but they communicate and connect over the project too.

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“My friend was from the Rotary Club of Sunbury, Victoria, they’d received a request from one of their members, who is a Nursing Unit Manager at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, looking for volunteers to make hats for nurses.

“Nurses don’t normally wear hats on hospital wards but they wish to now, as they have been informed that the virus can remain on surfaces for up to 4 days. While many wear their hair up, it is still an area that is left vulnerable. Both male and female nurses want to protect their families as much as possible and don’t want to run the risk of taking the virus home with them. These hats are not intended to replace Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

“So… we formed a ‘little’ project and found volunteers calling on family, friends, personal networks and more importantly social networks. We started a facebook page ‘Helping our Hospital Heroes Australia’. I’ve worked in IT for 40 years and it was mind blowing how quickly ideas can be picked up and acted on. We now have over 1,000 members and hundreds of lovely volunteers making hats right across Australia.

“The intention of the project is for hats to be made by volunteers using their own materials, including fabric, elastic and/or bias binding and buttons as the project currently has no funding. It runs on the generosity of our volunteers and the hats are gifted to the hospitals.

“On completion the volunteers send their hats to a designated contact for each hospital, who will manage infection control and distribution to the nurses. This photo shows nurses at Royal Melbourne Hospital, proudly wearing their first batch of hats. There were lots of tears shed behind the scenes too, by people coordinating and sewing, to think we’d done it.

“While the initial project was to make 1,000 hats for the nurses and staff of Royal Melbourne Hospital, it has now expanded, and we are making hats for nurses in Geelong, Box Hill, Perth and Brisbane just to name a few. Also onboard are The Rotary Clubs Western Endeavour, Kenmore and Numurkah.

“All the information about the pattern and delivery can be found on the facebook page. @helpingourHeroesAustralia Also, get in touch if you can donate fabric.

“Since our original target of 1000 has been done and delivered, we have reset the goal posts to 10,000, mind you, I’ve read there are 330,000 registered nurses in Australia. We can do this!”

Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: Supplied