Denise Van Outen, helping to make NHS scrubs, says she won’t point fingers about the lack of PPE

TV star Denise Van Outen is using her down-time during lockdown to help make scrubs for frontline staff.

She’s teamed up with a charitable initiative by Bespoke Interiors, who have so far raised over £13,000 to make more than 1,600 gowns.

Speaking on web show Up Close And Socially Distant, Denise said frontline workers are desperately in need and are having to resort to unfit alternatives. 

She told host and close friend Kate Thornton: “Some of the nurses are having to wear their pyjamas and things to go in, because they haven't got any outfits to wear, clothes to wear, so that they can just chuck them straight in the washing machine or get rid of them. They haven't got the right protective gear at all.”

Despite this shortage, Denise said she didn’t want to heap the blame on anyone – and encouraged people to join in with the programme.

“For me, at the moment, it's not about pointing fingers at people,” she said. “It's about just all coming together and just all trying to make a difference and do something that we can do to help.”

The initiative, which at the moment only covers Denise’s home county of Essex, is manned by volunteers. Denise said there are some considerations if you’re thinking about helping to produce the scrubs. Fabric has to be washed at 70 degrees and you can’t just use any old material lying around.

“I've heard people saying, ‘Oh, I've got an old duvet cover in the wardrobe’. You can't do it” she told Kate. “You have to have the approved material from the NHS.”

Denise said it’s an easy thing to fit into lockdown life – she cuts patterns while watching TV or chatting to her family – but she says the satisfaction she gleans from it is immeasurable.

“You do feel a sense of satisfaction,” she said. “I get pictures sent through of the nurses. I've had three already over the past couple of days of the nurses wearing scrubs that we've made, and just saying thank you.” 

To support the Bespoke Interiors fundraising appeal visit their Go Fund Me page. It costs £10 to make one set of scrubs.

Up Close And Socially Distant, hosted by Kate Thornton, features weekly video catch-ups with people who are all doing whatever they can to help those around them get through lockdown.

As well as Denise Vane Outen, this week Kate speaks to Dr Ruth Glynne-Owen, the CEO and Founder of the Blue Sky Autism Project about helping children with autism in lockdown, and to Barrie Knight about his YouTube show, ‘Big Knight In’, which is raising money so he can buy and deliver food parcels to those most in need.