Filtermist employee Linda Roberts is using her talents to help supply the NHS with protective clothing

Filtermist’s Linda Roberts, who is a buyer and part of the supply chain team, has turned her supply chain skills to good use whilst currently furloughed from the business.

As part of a wider community initiative in her hometown of Thirsk, Linda came across a call for experienced ‘seamstresses’ in her local newsletter and knew that she needed something to keep busy:

“Initially being furloughed was extremely daunting as I’m used to being busy,” said Linda. “I work full time and at weekends I often look after my grandchildren, but with the social distancing measures in place I’m not doing that either.

“I came across an article in the local newsletter calling for help to sew PPE for North Allerton Hospital. When I was a child, my mother was a professional seamstress and when she had a lot of work she trained up me and my siblings to help out. I’m so glad she did as now I can put that training to good use and keep myself occupied,” she added.

Linda has provided three batches of caps, scrub bags and headbands so far and will continue to sew for as long as the NHS needs. The local community has pulled together and donations of fabric are dropped at Linda’s door - she’s also put some of her own quilting fabric to good use:

“My grandchildren and I had chosen some fabric to put a family quilt together. I called them and asked if they’d mind if I used the fabric for this initiative and they were really pleased they could help. We can replace the fabric once lockdown is over, but for now it’s being used for the greater good,” Linda explained.

“We’re a small community and together we’re also making sure our most vulnerable residents are cared for. I'm helping a local gentleman with shopping and supplies, and generally checking on his wellbeing,” Linda said. “It’s times like these that really bring out the best in people and the community spirit is helping everyone to get through this.”

As the COVID-19 situation progressed and more details of the Government’s plans became clear, Filtermist took the decision to enter a number of colleagues onto the Job Retention Scheme in an effort to try and safeguard their roles for the future. Linda, who is based out of Filtermist’s Wetherby office, is one of a number of employees already on the scheme.

“We are actively ensuring we are communicating with all furloughed employees so they can keep up to date with what’s going on in the business. We also have a number of people working from home for whom this is a new experience, and given the restrictions imposed by the Government we’re aware that some of this population may be feeling quite isolated,” said Jo Morris, Director of Group Shared Services.

“Linda and I have spoken frequently as I do with all furloughed employees within my team to ensure they have constant contact and can be supported. She was understandably concerned when she initially received the news, but having this community initiative to keep her busy has been fantastic. We’re all really proud of her efforts,” Jo added.