Phyllis Court hosts PPE Surgical Gown Factory

4 May 2020

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The Riverside Pavilion at Phyllis Court Club in Henley on Thames has become a PPE Surgical Gown Factory which will create 3,500 units the Royal Berkshire Hospital and local GP surgeries. 

Kristie Shemilt who is a Member of the Club began making gowns in her workshop, but with increasing demand and an ever-growing band of volunteers, she needed a larger space. 

Chris Hogan, CEO at Phyllis Court said that he and Council (the Board of Directors) had “no hesitation in agreeing to Kristie setting up the production line. Members at Phyllis Court consider the Riverside Pavilion to be the jewel in the crown of the Club’s estate. It is a venue where in better times some of the most prestigious events are held and Members would be delighted to know that it has been put to such an important use during this unprecedented emergency.”

Kristie and her team of volunteers have pledged to make enough reusable surgical scrubs for the Royal Berks to sustain them for four months, and they will make some urgently needed scrubs for local GP surgeries too. 

As the CEO and Creative Director of Collier & Robinson, Kristie is more used to creating hand-made luxury blazers, but she turned her hand to surgical gowns at the beginning of April. “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic … I wanted to help in whatever way I could. I quickly learnt of all the shortages in the NHS and in particular the need for Scrubs to protect our frontline workers in their fight against Covid-19.”

She initially set out to crowd fund the £8,500 needed to manufacture 700 gowns, but the donations kept coming and she has exceeded the original target by 220%! In fact, to date Kristie and her 90 volunteers from the local area have created 1,250 reusable scrubs and 800 laundry bags. 

This latest project to create 3,500 surgical gowns for the Royal Berks has been sponsored by the League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital who have donated the medical grade fabric required. Kristie and around 25 volunteers including dress makers, tailors, seamstresses and medical practitioners will work together over the next three weeks in the Riverside Pavilion to manufacture these essential protective supplies.

Commenting on the set-up Kirstie explained that the space will allow the team to observe strict social distancing with workstations two meters apart. “These gowns are to be worn by those treating the most ill patients battling Covid-19. They are urgently needed, and we need to make them quickly. I am truly excited about working in such a lovely place, it’s so light and means we can work more efficiently as we don’t have to stop for regular breaks. With more people working in one space we can create 250 surgical gowns a day – it’s just amazing!”

To find out more visit 'HOT Scrubs - RBH needs you' on Facebook. 

View a video of the 'factory'



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