Sunspel’s work in response to COVID-19

How we are supporting our local community and NHS keyworkers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Face masks have been remade from fabric offcuts

In the midst of the national coronavirus lockdown the Sunspel factory at Long Eaton remained open – although it was far from ‘business as usual’. Our response to the COVID-19 outbreak meant significant changes to the way we work, introducing strict social distancing and hygiene measures to ensure the safety of our team members.

But it also changed what we were making. In addition to the usual production of luxury T-Shirts, our craftspeople turned their skills to the manufacture of protective items for local NHS nurses and community workers, to support them in the fight against COVID-19.

Manufacturing face masks and laundry bags, ready to be delivered to local keyworkers

Sunspel has deep roots in the Nottinghamshire community, so we were keen to support local initiatives and respond to requests for help close to home. In the factory, our team remade fabric offcuts into washable drawstring laundry bags for frontline NHS workers at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. These allowed nursing staff to bag up their uniforms at the end of their shifts and put them directly into washing machines without having to risk handling contaminated clothing in their own homes. We have donated 1,000 bags and remain on standby to make more as needed.

We’ve also applied our skills to the manufacture of protective face masks, for our own staff and for keyworkers and carers. In April, we donated 500 masks to vulnerable customers in Yorkshire. In June, we started selling face masks online and in-store after requests from our customers. The sale of the masks has allowed us to donate an additional 4,059 masks to organisations and individuals, from local schools, universities and volunteers, to care homes, doctors surgeries and our NHS. We have also donated face masks to UK charities The Felix Project and Crisis, who support those most at risk. In the US, we have been able to support Spark the Change and The Delores Project, the charities provide shelter and services to unaccompanied women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness.

Community food company The Local Pantry sporting Sunspel face masks

Drawstring laundry bags delivered to NHS staff

The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on all our lives, but in its 160 year history Sunspel has continued to operate and adapt through many a crisis – from surviving the Great Depression to producing utility garments during both World Wars. We have been determined to keep our Long Eaton factory open and to play our small part in meeting the challenges we have all faced in these unprecedented times.

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