// John Lewis reopens Lancashire textiles factory to make gowns for NHS coronavirus frontline workers
// It is also donating over 20,000 metres of fabric for scrubs from its haberdashery departments & distribution centres
// John Lewis also donating 250 electrical items such as coffee machines & kettles for staff rooms & wellbeing areas at 25 hospitals
John Lewis has announced that it will reopen its Herbert Parkinson textiles factory in Lancashire to make protective gowns for the NHS as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Factory staff who usually sew bespoke blinds, curtains and pillows and duvets will this week begin making around 8000 washable, clinical gowns for the Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.
The retailer is also donating over 20,000 metres of cotton fabric from its haberdashery departments and distribution centres to For the Love of Scrubs and Scrubs Glorious Scrubs, groups with thousands of members who are making scrubs for the NHS.
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The donated fabric is expected to make around 6000 scrubs.
“We’re all looking forward to re-opening our factory and threading our sewing machines again to play our part in helping the NHS,” John Lewis head of Herbert Parkinson, Stuart McDonald, said.
“We expect to be able to produce around 2000 gowns per week.
“The fabric we are donating for scrubs could have no better use than to keep people safe.
“Over the past few weeks we have already donated over 400 metres of fabric to groups making face masks and scrubs for their local hospitals, pharmacies, care homes and communities.
“They have told us that this has enabled them to make over 3000 face mask linings and 75 sets of scrubs.”
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Sir James Mackey said: “We will be forever grateful for this support from John Lewis which will directly, and positively, impact on our front-line workers and patients – helping to keep them safe.
“It is clear, we can only tackle the challenges faced through utilising local channels and relationships to do so.
“It is this spirit, of pulling together, that has helped us to achieve so many things over recent weeks, at pace and without any outside influence. We need to embrace with open arms all offers of help and turn these into actions that support our staff and patients.”
John Lewis has already created a wellbeing area for staff at NHS Nightingale London and worked with the BMA to deliver 60,000 essentials to key NHS staff.
This week, the retailer will begin donating 250 electrical products such as coffee machines, kettles and toasters to the staff rooms and wellbeing areas at 25 acute London hospitals, and the Nightingale Hospitals in Harrogate.
John Lewis has also designed two wellbeing areas and a multi-faith room for NHS staff at the Nightingale in Manchester and will deliver its donation of over 150 items of furniture for these rooms next week.
Meanwhile, last week the John Lewis Partnership launched a children’s competition to design a “super-bear”.
The top design will be sold at Christmas with 100 per cent of the profits going to the NHS.