Support vaccination with V-star badge

Liz Nicholls

NHS

Lisa Hulyer and Sarah Lewis were so moved by the plight of our NHS heroes and angry about anti-vax scaremongering, that they decided to do something about it…

Over winter they launched their Vaccine Star (V-Star) badge for sale at £3 with all profits going to NHS charities, St John Ambulance and local causes, while sending a positive message to the world.

“We are two British mums who, like everyone else, have been significantly and profoundly affected by this dreadful virus,” explained Lisa and Sarah.
“Like most of you, we’ve been homeschooling our children, whilst struggling to maintain any vestige of normality as best we can.

As we are unable to work as normal, we have created this badge to promote the Covid19 vaccination programme to encourage every person in this country to take up this vital vaccine and to wear your V-Star badge to show your support.

It’s a handy way of being ‘seen’ to support the programme – and the feedback from healthcare workers has been so positive. It’s important everyone, from all communities, comes together to have the vaccine, to enable us to return to normal.”

The high quality 3cm blue enamelled star set in gold metal with a butterfly clasp is a British-made product. The project is helping to promote pop-up staff shops in hospitals for free food and essentials. As well as relaxing staff break areas for NHS workers and welfare packs of snacks, drinks, lip balm and hand creams.

To buy yours, please visit v-star.co.uk and follow
@vstar.uk on Instagram


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Channel 5’s Skin A+E Needs Wiltshire

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5 Star and Boom are looking for people from Wiltshire with various medical conditions to appear on SKIN A+E which is returning for its second series.

Following on from the success of the first series, which can be viewed here: SKIN A+E SERIES LINK

The doors to the Skin A+E clinic will be open for a second time, where a team of top UK dermatologists will give participants a FREE consultation, advice and medical treatment if appropriate.

If you, or someone you know, has a skin condition that you would like help with then the team at Boom would like to hear from you.

Perhaps your condition doesn’t qualify for treatment on the NHS? Or your treatment has been delayed?

Have you been unable to find the right treatment for your skin condition?

Or are you on a long waiting list for a referral to a dermatologist?

Their team of dermatologists would love to help you!

Applicants who are picked must be willing to talk openly and frankly about their condition and be available for filming for one day in April or May 2021. All applicants must be legal residents of the UK, currently live in the UK and be aged 18 and above.

To get more information and fill in an application form please email the production company at:

Deadline for applications is Friday 30th April 2021

We welcome applications from all sections of the community. Boom will process your information in accordance with its privacy policy (Boom Privacy Notice for Contributors) Applicants should be aware that due to the high volume of responses we cannot guarantee to reply to everyone.


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Scrubs help

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Ready, steady, sew!

Volunteers are using their love of sewing to help make scrubs for health care workers

There’s no end of people putting their skills to use during the coronavirus crisis and that includes those handy with a sewing machine who have been making scrubs for health care workers.

Madeleine Steele, pictured, is just one who has been helping. She set up the South Oxfordshire and Berkshire Scrub Hub from her home in Crowmarsh making garments and masks for the NHS and people working in social care.

She said: “It was a Facebook post on Easter Monday that I saw about people making scrubs and I thought that’s a great idea, I’ll see if I can join in. There weren’t any other ScrubHubs in our area so I called my old school friend and asked her if she wanted to set it up with me.”

The South Oxfordshire and Berkshire Scrub Hub is a network of volunteers operating in Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford, Henley, Reading, Caversham, Woodley, Earley, Winnersh, Wokingham and Tilehurst.

Their aim is to plug the gap as an emergency helping hand by supporting our health care professionals without scrubs during the current crisis.
The volunteer network ‘who love to sew’ is operating all over the country answering calls from workers through their networks and communities. The scrubs are made to order by experienced volunteers, working safely within the guidelines of the lock down, often with donated materials.

To find out more visit scrubhub.org.uk/south-oxfordshire-berkshire

If you are member of the public and you’d like to sponsor their efforts visit the GoFundMe page.

Donations will help support the NHS Practitioners health service who care for and support the mental well being of NHS workers, who are doing such a selfless job during this time.

Facing the challenge

Local schools are supporting NHS frontline workers in the battle against coronavirus
with the production of face shields and protective screens

PPE – before the coronavirus most of us would not have heard of this or indeed be aware of its importance – now we hear of the need for it on a daily basis.

Schools across Berkshire have been working to produce face shields and screens for use in GP practices and hospitals.

One project was the brainchild of Leighton Park School’s Head of Design and Technology, Mark Smith who began making the protective wear in the Reading school’s workshop with an original target of 200.

Mark said: “We are fortunate at Leighton Park to have access to tools and resources that can make a difference and keep our keyworkers safe: I just had to do something.”

Using the laser cutter to create re-usable plastic headbands he then attached disposable A4 PVC sheets donated by Reading-based stationery suppliers Frasers Office Supplies.

A plea for additional laser cutters was met by other schools in the area and there is now a network of manufacturers involved including the University of Reading, Neal’s Export Packaging Ltd, in Silchester, and rLAB, a community workshop space.

School partners include Denefield School, Edgbarrow School, Prospect School, Reading Blue Coats, Shiplake College, Holme Grange School, The Forest School, Brackenhale School, Waingels College, The Bulmershe School, Luckley House, Warriner School, Little Heath, Ranelagh and St Joseph’s College.

Since starting production on April 2nd they have supplied more than 80 organisations with shields.

The Oratory school near Woodcote has also risen to the challenge to help the local community after it was approached by Dr Amanda Gemmill, a GP and the school’s Head of PSHE. She asked the Design LabOratory to construct protective screens for the Goring and Woodcote surgeries to offer protection to reception staff.

The Design LabOratory began with three polycarbonate screens which were installed on a Saturday to ensure the surgery was not disrupted.

Word of the screens spread and Strawberry Hill Medical Centre in Newbury put in a request which required more material and a more robust construction. They have since made screens for surgeries in Woodcote, Goring, Newbury, Henley, Wokingham and Abingdon with orders from two practices in Oxford.

The Design LabOratory is now producing face shields with the use of 3D printers and has delivered to medical practices in Woodcote and Goring, to Marcham Road Surgery in Abingdon, Sue Ryder in Nettlebed and Townlands Hospital in Henley.

Working together

Buckinghamshire schools come together to make PPE for healthcare workers

Schools and colleges across the county have been playing their part to support the NHS and other local health services to help keep frontline staff safe. Using their 3D printers they have created safety visors for the NHS and donated PPE equipment to support healthcare staff.

Thanks to the fantastic work of schools from all parts of the county, hundreds of visors have been produced and distributed to frontline healthcare professionals. Many local businesses played their part too, donating items such as lab coats, goggles and gloves, after hearing about the work schools were doing from parents or teachers.

Many schools across the county, including Buckingham School, Stowe School, Westbury School, Sir Thomas Fremantle School, Holmer Green School, Sir William Borlase’s School, Wycombe Grammar School, Wycombe High School, Highworth Combined School and Sir William Ramsay School have also produced (using their 3D printers) or donated essential PPE equipment such as goggles and lab coats.

Buckinghamshire UTC has also donated 30 protective goggles and their Principal Sarah Valentine personally bought six lab coats from Amazon for delivery to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Cllr Anita Cranmer, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I’m hugely impressed by the time, effort and heart that our education community has put into creating and donating PPE for our healthcare workers.

“This is a fantastic example of how Buckinghamshire is coming together and a tribute to our hardworking and dedicated healthcare workers who are helping to keep us all safe during these challenging times. Another amazing initiative that shows just how #ProudofBucks we are.”

In addition, Aylesbury High School, The Grange School in Aylesbury, Beachborough School at Westbury, and the University of Buckingham have also got involved in the production and donation of PPE to local NHS trusts.

Vince Murray, Headteacher of The Grange School, said: “As a school we were more than willing to respond to the call for PPE equipment through the collection of goggles and laboratory coats. It was also lovely to see some of our students making ‘scrub bags’ for the NHS, alongside their teacher (Miss Friend) while they were in school.

“We see ourselves as a community school. We were only too happy to contribute, in a small way, to maintaining the safety of other key workers looking after those in our hospitals, and providing essential care for others at a time when they need it most.”

Scrubs help

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NHS

Sew essential

Mel Downing is one of a consortium of local curtain makers who came together to make scrubs for healthcare workers

At the end of March we were aware there was a real shortage of scrubs – all healthcare workers were going to need them and due to the contagious nature of Covid-19 would need several sets each and wash bags for them to be put in once taken off and laundered.

A consortium of local curtain makers set up a Justgiving page to raise money to buy rolls of washable polycotton, within days we had raised a few thousand. The total now is more than £15,000.

I have run Melanie Downing Interiors, a busy curtain design company for 25 years and one of my blind makers Julie Knaggs had trained as a pattern cutter. We decided the best way forward was to bulk cut the fabric and then hand out kits for people to sew depending on their skills.

This saved us so much time and also very little wasted fabric. It was really important we sent out beautifully made scrubs that were made to last. We created a Facebook page and very quickly had an army of more than 80 volunteers from curtain makers, dress makers, costume makers, and even a tutu maker.

Local hubs were established in Farnham, Guildford, Haslemere, Petersfield, Petworth and Godalming to try and reduce journeys and volunteer drivers co-ordinated delivery and collection.

Realising the phenomenal demand we also enlisted the help of Mint Velvet who delivered 800 sets to Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, for us.
We have supplied more than 2,500 sets to The Royal Surrey, Frimley Park, Basingstoke Hospital and Hospice, Haslemere, Petworth, Milford and Alton Community Hospitals, Phyllis Tuckwell, Marie Curie, Macmillan, Meath Home, Ticehurst Care Home, Aldershot Community team and numerous GP surgeries as well as several private requests.

It has been an incredible logistical challenge to achieve so much in such a short space of time but worth it to know it is being used.

There are so many talented people in the area and the team spirit has just been such a positive experience. I feel lucky to have been able to use my business experience and skills to co-ordinate such an important project with the help of so many really amazing people.

We are now starting to make masks which will be distributed primarily via local food banks and hope these will be sent out with a wash bag and soap stressing the importance of continued hand washing.

Most of the professional seamstresses in the team are currently unable to work due to restrictions re visiting people’s homes but hoping we can soon get back to work!

Contact Mel Downing – www.melaniedowning.co.uk 01428 713868; Coleen Smart – www.honeybeehandmade.co.uk 01483 577168; Caroline Lockie – Sewn – 01483 425577; Jo Martin – www.josephineellen.co.uk; Julie Knaggs – www.montaguesadles.co.uk

Stitches in time

A teacher has set up a volunteer sewing group to make scrubs for health care workers

Sewing enthusiasts have been taking to their machines to answer the call for scrubs, masks, scrub bags and gowns to help support front line workers.

Head of Design & Technology at Glebelands School in Cranleigh, Tamsin Mitchell (pictured), heard local frontline workers were faced with a drastic shortage of scrubs, masks, and similar equipment, and decided to pitch in.

Having seen a Facebook post from a nurse who works for Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, she contacted her to see if there was anything she could sew to help.

“She wanted scrubs bags, so people can change at hospital and take their uniform home in the bag and pop it straight in the wash. I went online to see if I could get more people on board, and I found a national group called For the Love of Scrubs. They had subpages for local areas, and there wasn’t one for Cranleigh. So I volunteered.”

Tamsin formed NHS Sewing Cranleigh and Dorking to mobilise local sewing enthusiasts including Glebelands pupils. The group already has more than 65 members, who have together produced items for St Joseph’s Specialist School and College and more than half a dozen other local organisations, including care homes and medical practices.

Tamsin said: “It’s a real community effort. Everyone is stepping up to the plate and helping each other. In a time of need, it’s the practical and creative skills that make a difference.”

Anyone in need of items or wanting to join the group should contact Tamsin through the NHS Sewing Cranleigh and Dorking group on Facebook.

Supporting Surrey SAR

The science department at King Edward’s Witley donates PPE to Surrey Search & Rescue

In 2010, relies solely on donations to purchase vital lifesaving equipment and provide training for its team.King Edward’s Witley has delivered much-needed supplies of personal protective equipment in response to an urgent appeal from Surrey Search & Rescue.

Woking-based charity, Surrey SAR – a voluntary specialist search team – posted a request on Facebook for vital supplies of PPE to protect their responders as they help Surrey Police and the county council at this time, checking on the welfare of vulnerable members of the community.

King Edward’s science department technician, Alison Hill sourced, sterilised and packed boxes of protective goggles and disposable gloves which were given to the charity.

Head of Science, Jim Culbert said they were delighted to be able to support Surrey SAR: “This is an amazing organisation. During the current coronavirus pandemic, Surrey Search & Rescue is playing a pivotal role in checking on the welfare of those who are deemed particularly susceptible to the virus, ensuring they remain well and lending a caring and sympathetic ear when people need it most.”

Surrey SAR assists the emergency services in the search for missing vulnerable adults and children. Volunteers, assisted by search dogs and drones, deliver an on-call response service 24 hours a day across Surrey and surrounding areas, when the emergency services need their specialist skills.

On average 2,100 people go missing in Surrey each year and as such Surrey SAR is one of the busiest search & rescue teams in the UK. The charity, which was formed in 2010, relies solely on donations to purchase vital lifesaving equipment and provide training for its team.

You can donate or read more about Surrey Search and Rescue here.

One Million Bubbles of Love

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NHS

Nothing brings smiles to people’s faces like balloons and the professional balloon decorating and entertainment industry is helping people find their smiles and joy during this challenging time. 

On May 9th & 10th, balloon artists from around the world joined in One Million Bubbles of Love to share their talents and skills to help bring happiness and remind the world there is hope and kindness out there. 

Among those taking part was Amy Brown, a professional balloon decorator based in Thursley, her business AJ’s Balloon Décor has been involved with the project for the last two months. 

She created and displayed designs in April – NHS Rainbow Heart and in May – Keyworkers Gardens of Hope. 

Amy said: “I had some wonderful feedback from passers by. It has been a great way to bring smiles to those who are out and about, but also online through social media and to say thank you to all the NHS and keyworkers. 

The first One Million Bubbles was held on March 26th with more than 350 designers participating from 15 countries. The second One Million Bubbles was held on April 11th & 12th with nearly 1,900 designers participating from 81 countries. 

“With all the fear and uncertainty going on in the world right now, I felt like we had to do something,” said Steven Jones, project leader of Balloon Designers in Seattle, Washington. “Balloons make people happy in ways nothing else does, so if working balloon professionals cannot make people smile right now, who really can?” 

Balloon professionals are encouraged to create something artsy and fun either in their yards at home or in a public place, to convey the message of Be Safe Be Kind. 

Check out the One Million Bubbles website

RBC road markings

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NHS

Pictured are: From Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, front left Dom Hardy (Chief Operating Officer), 2nd left Steve McManus (Chief Executive) and front right (Nicky Lloyd, Chief Finance Officer) with Reading Borough Council Leader Jason Brock (2nd right), Cllr Tony Jones (3rd left) with members of the Council Highways team and contractors Bellstan.

A public and lasting thank you for the amazing work NHS staff and carers are doing to look after Reading’s residents during the coronavirus pandemic has appeared in the town.

The road markings, providing a message of gratitude from Reading Borough Council on behalf of residents, were installed on Wednesday 29th April directly outside Royal Berkshire Hospital on London Road.

The message reads “THANK YOU NHS AND CARERS” with the NHS logo in the middle of a colourful rainbow heart.

RBC teamed up with its road markings contractor Bellstan to provide the thank you message between the entrances to Eldon Road and Prince’s Street.

Bellstan generously provided the messaging free to show their gratitude to the NHS as well, along with their materials supplier Ennis-Flint and Uni-Play who created the artwork and final print.

The thank you extends to all key workers and frontline staff who have been instrumental in keeping essential services going for Reading’s residents since the pandemic began, including those redeployed to unfamiliar roles to ensure continuity.

Last week the council urged people to do their bit to make a difference by joining its care agencies and help make sure vulnerable adults and older people in Reading are supported over the coming months.

Reading Borough Council Leader Jason Brock said: “Our NHS staff and carers have shown exceptional dedication, coping so well with the additional pressures and dangers that coronavirus has brought.

We want to bring a smile to the faces of hospital staff when they come to work and remind them how much the council and all Reading’s residents truly appreciate what they are doing.

My sincere thanks go to all frontline staff keeping essential services going, including the council’s dedicated team and those working or volunteering with all our partners.

Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “It’s great that so many of our hard working staff now see this lovely message of gratitude as they start and finish their shifts at the hospital.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the many ways the local community has rallied round to support us all during the covornavirus outbreak, from donations of food and laundry bags, to the weekly clapping for carers.

“This eye-catching message on our doorstep is a reminder to everyone of the fantastic work being done, not just inside the hospital but by carers and key workers across our community.”

Both Reading Borough Council and the Royal Berkshire Hospital reiterated that residents can help the fight against Covid-19 through social distancing and should stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Share how you & your community has been thanking the NHS and key workers in the comments below! 

Turn on the TAP

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NHS

A new social platform for thanking unsung heroes in education and healthcare/NHS was launched in Ascot last year but never has it been more poignant.

TAP (Thank And Praise) is a unique platform, running on WhatsApp, for parents and patients to thank employees working in education and healthcare/NHS.

Founders, Phillip and Sandie Curtis, came up with the idea after receiving so much excellent care and support for their special needs son, in schools and the NHS, and often finding it difficult to relay their appreciation.

Sandie shared her experience: ‘We have received so much help, from many truly amazing people, who deserve to be recognised for their selfless commitment to caring for us, and our children.’’

TAP research in 2019 confirmed more than 70% of people do not manage to give the thanks they want to pass on, and believe employees in the NHS and education, deserve more praise.

To use TAP, just register on WhatsApp, and let them know who you would like to thank. TAP will pass on your words of appreciation, and also allocate TAP points, worth £1, to your unsung hero, which can be redeemed with participating retailers. These points are funded by corporate companies who want to contribute to the wellbeing of employees in certain sectors.

Soon after the launch in Ascot, St Michaels school became the first establishment to receive more than 100 thank you messages, which means some of their staff have already qualified, and claimed their vouchers, which can be spent in retailers such as Costa, Waitrose and M&S.

The headteacher at St Michaels school, Lorna Anderton has witnessed the benefits of TAP first hand: “As a headteacher, I am thrilled with the opportunities TAP provides to support my teachers’ well-being. A ‘thank you’ every so often makes a huge difference to someone’s day and how they feel. Happy, positive teachers create an environment where our children can flourish. Everyone’s a winner!”

TAP is delivering a tangible solution to the growing need to improve staff well-being in the NHS and education; many of these unsung heroes are being worn down with pressures at work, and TAP provides us all with the opportunity to show how much we appreciate them.

TAP has just launched a digital thanking wall to allow people to post messages of appreciation for the courageous and selfless people working in healthcare/NHS and education, visit the website www.thankandpraise.com to see the wall and post your message.

If you live in the Ascot area, and want to give thanks, message us on Whatsapp 07871 064296, or, if you think TAP would benefit your community, contact Ann on