Ways to endure furlough or lockdown - how Sleaford communities got behind the NHS and related good causes

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With so many people forced to go on furlough or mothball their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, many found time on their hands to give something back to support the hard pressed NHS.

This might be helping out to produce more of the highly-prized PPE during early shortages, making masks, visors and scrubs, or by fuindraising to pay for more equipment through the NHS Charities fund.

Sleaford Gymnastics Club members and friends went head over heels to raise hundreds in cash for the NHS Covid-19 support charity.

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Back in early April members were unable to meet up and train together since lockdown and head coach Sammi Emsley thought it would be nice to do something to help the NHS.

“We thought, why not try and do 1,000 cartwheels in one minute,” said Sammi. “So we set up a Justgiving page with a target of £100 to raise.”

“We had gymnasts joining in, brothers and sisters, parents and even an older lady who did one cartwheel but then had to stop because she said it hurt too much!

“We stressed safety is paramount but every cartwheel counts.”

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Everyone filmed their cartwheeling antics to add to a Zoom and Facebook link.

Sleaford Gymnastics Club members doing their toilet roll challenge video. EMN-210323-143848001Sleaford Gymnastics Club members doing their toilet roll challenge video. EMN-210323-143848001
Sleaford Gymnastics Club members doing their toilet roll challenge video. EMN-210323-143848001

In the end they managed to do a collective total of 1,294 cartwheels, with more than 30 people taking part.

Funds raised quickly passed £100, £200 and £300 and eventually stood at a fantastic £437. The money went to NHS Charities Together to support NHS efforts in Lincolnshire during the coronavirus crisis.

Sleaford and Heckington’s Millview Medical Practice has launched a fundraising appeal to help boost the area’s two food banks.

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The GP practice team aimed to raise £1,000 to be split evenly between the two causes which were coping with massively increased demand due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions

Finlay Hrubesch. EMN-210323-140806001Finlay Hrubesch. EMN-210323-140806001
Finlay Hrubesch. EMN-210323-140806001

With the Heckington Community Larder having only just set up Dr Ray Shrouder from the practice said they would like to give it and its Sleaford counterpart a boost.

He said: “In these difficult times, there are people around us who are genuinely finding it difficult to make ends meet.”

To help motivate everyone, he, Dr Prabhakaran Kasinathan, Nurse Practitioner Steve Field, Practice Manager Marcus Griffen and Joolz Hudson along with some brave Millview husbands joined in a garden head shave on June 1.

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With hero of the NHS, Captain Tom Moore, reaching his 100th birthday last week and raising £30m for the NHS charities by doing 100 laps of his garden, a seven-year-old boy from Sleaford was inspired to raise almost £500 towards buying more protective equipment for medical staff dealing with Covid-19 patients.

Head of technology at Boston High School, Emma Whitton, wearing one of the face visors they created. EMN-210323-143810001Head of technology at Boston High School, Emma Whitton, wearing one of the face visors they created. EMN-210323-143810001
Head of technology at Boston High School, Emma Whitton, wearing one of the face visors they created. EMN-210323-143810001

William Alvey School pupil Finlay Hrubesch ran 100 laps around his garden every day for 10 days, with people donating money via a Justgiving page set up by his mum, Tracy.

He raised over £470 for the appeal.

Proud dad Marcus Hrubesch, who runs the Solo Bar in town, said: “My little boy took a shine to Captain Tom and so he wanted to do a little charity effort at home while he was off school. It is for the NHS and every little helps.

“In these strange times it is something nice to hear.”

Finlay commented: “I wanted to raise £100 to buy some gowns and masks for the nurses after asking how many masks and gowns that would buy the NHS.”

He reached that figure on his first day.

Marcus said: “As parents we are really proud of him.”

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Sleaford Cricket Club members raised £754 to make a donation to NHS Charities Together by running there and back to every Lincs ECB Premier League Ground every Saturday for nine weeks.

With the season shortened due to the Coronavirus pandemic, club members decided to do a running challenge to raise some money for charity.

The challenge was to run the distance to every club (there and back) in the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League over nine weeks as a team sharing the workload.

The distances were: Boston (56km), Bourne (56km), Bracebridge Heath (56km), Grantham (50km), Lindum (66km), Louth (138km), Market Deeping (78km), Scunthorpe (152km), Woodhall Spa (64km).

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Karen Melville, of Helpringham, was recognised in the NK Community Champion awards for playing her part in a national drive to provide essential scrubs supplies into the NHS for Covid-care.

Karen co-ordinated a local response to the For the Love of Scrubs initiative that covered the county’s three main hospitals, community nurses and GPs.

Within Lincolnshire some 2,000 volunteers gave up time, skill and sewing machines to rustle up many thousand sets of medical scrubs, kit bags and face coverings from donated or self-sourced fabric; marshalling skills, expertise and materials as a considerable contribution to the national effort.

Not only have these met a chronic need but they have also lightened the mood for patients as healthcare professionals carried out their duties with more vibrancy and colour thanks to the varied material being used. Further volunteering has underpinned a failsafe supply chain, administration and support and a strong network and sense of community has been fostered among the home-workers.

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Technology staff at schools in Sleaford and Boston volunteered to produce and donate hundreds of protective goggles and visors for NHS and care staff.

Carre’s Grammar School technology teacher Paul Mawditt and his wife Emma Whitton, who is Head of Technology at Boston High School, answered the desperate call for equipment.

Emma said: “We started looking to help after noticing a few posts by fellow Design and Technology teachers. We made a sample, tweaked it and posted it online.”

The couple put the offer out on social media and Emma said they gave the visors away for free to NHS staff and key care workers in local communities in the Sleaford and Boston areas who made contact.

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Wards at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital including A&E, ICU, maternity and the cancer ward came forward, as well as Lincoln and Grantham hospitals, numerous GP surgeries, home care provider companies, secure unit employees and St Barnabas Hospice.

Emma was contacted by people and companies with offers of support with materials and funding.

Carre’s headteacher Nick Law said he was more than happy to sanction the project after being approached by the head at Boston High School, Andrew Fulbrook.

He said: “We felt it was the least we could do to donate all of the gloves, masks and goggles that we had to the NHS, as we knew that they were struggling to get the right amount of equipment to keep their workers safe as they treated people in their hospitals. The equipment we have donated would normally be used by staff and students to protect themselves in science labs when doing experiments and in technology workshops when doing practical work. Two of my staff collected all the items and the senior science technician took it all to Lincoln County Hospital.”

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Mr Mawditt was permitted to use the school workshops and equipment to produce a prototype face mask. Mr Law added: “He has colleagues in the NHS and was clearly moved by the stories they had told him about working on the front line.

“I didn’t have to hesitate in giving the ‘thumbs up’ to do it.

“I am proud of the staff who have helped support the NHS, but it is no less than I expected.”

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