The Rugby PPE Response has expanded dramatically over the last month and was outgrowing the space so generously provided by the Westside Medical Centre in Corporation Street and has moved to the Benn Partnership Centre.

Initially distributing community made face visors to health and social care organisations across Rugby and beyond, the PPE Response team were also getting calls for scrubs and bags

A team of stitchers responded to the initial call from the Friends of St Cross and has worked with the charity’s Secretary, June Witcomb, to make over 400 scrubs bags as well as scrubs and headbands for the team at The Hospital of St Cross. One of the people who responded to the call was Gita Natarajan of the Benn Partnership who approached June and offered to join her sewing group to the team.

Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, said “the timing of the call from Gita could not have come at a better time for both the Rugby PPE Response and the Friends stitchers! We had been thinking for a few days that it would be ideal if we could combine our two strands of activity and knew they would not fit into the Medical Centre accommodation. So when Gita called the conversation rapidly moved to areas where our two charities could work together for the good of the community and after we had both consulted with our trustees and stakeholders it was agreed that we join together and re-locate at the Benn Partnership!”

Gita Natarajan, Beyond Brexit Project Manager for the Benn Partnership Centre said “The Partnership supports a wide cross-section of vulnerable members of the community and has a network of over 100 stitchers which we are urgently mobilising now that the Government has advised the public to wear cloth face masks when outdoors! We recognised that both the Rugby PPE Response and ourselves would need to raise money to buy raw materials for the various items that we are producing and it was clear to both of us that we would be more effective in raising these much needed funds if we launched a joint campaign and consolidated our operations. We have joined with the Friends of St Cross to set up a fundraising page and will be asking all of our supporters to help us raise at least £10,000 so that we can continue with our initiatives which will have undoubtedly saved many from catching this awful virus.”

June Witcomb, Secretary of the Friends of St Cross, said “It was great to hear from Gita and we quickly agreed that we were both looking for material and should appeal to the community at large for donations of material such as sheets, pillow cases or duvet covers that can be used for all sorts of PPE. Of course we would also welcome donations from the public so that we can buy suitable material as well.”

Dr Keith Edgar, Project Lead for the Rugby PPE Response initiative said “I wold like to thank Kellie Preece and the team at the Westside Medical Centre for all the support that they have given to the launch of the initiative.  We are now aiming to increase our production of scrubs and scrubs bags as well as adding to the 7,500 face visors that have gone out to over 70 organisations across Rugby, Coventry and Warwickshire.  Joining up with the Benn Partnership will also help us reach members of the community who are most vulnerable for a wide range of reasons.”

Find out more on or  or donate to support the Friends of St Cross at

Photo: Willy Goldschmidt and Gita Natarajan outside the Benn Partnership Centre.