Prisoners at HMP Lowdham Grange making PPE for the NHS

Published: 1 May 2020

A story of human kindness across the country from Nottingham to Epsom

Prisoners at HMP Lowdham Grange near Nottingham, managed by Serco on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, are making scrubs and washbags both for nearby King’s Mill Hospital and for Epsom General Hospital.  So far 300 washbags and over 100 sets of scrubs have been donated and production is in full swing. Today there are seven prisoners working hard in the prison’s Business Enterprise area to make more PPE for the hospitals.

The story of this unlikely partnership started when the father of Leigh Motherwell, an employee at the prison, was taken ill with Covid 19 and admitted to Epsom General Hospital.  Unfortunately he missed lunch and dinner when he was moved between wards and the hospital staff were unable to help or get him food.

Leigh continues the story: “As I am in Nottingham, I was frantic and desperate as I could not see him or get food to him.  It is awful hearing an 80 year old crying down the phone; I felt so helpless.  So I went on to a local Epsom Facebook Forum and put out a plea for any local resident nearby to the hospital to drop off a couple bananas for him.

“I was completely inundated with offers of kindness and over 80 kind souls responded.  One of them was an Intensive Care Healthcare Assistant Kevin Whinchup.  Before his shift started Kevin rang the Catering Manager and asked them to sort out something for Dad.  When he went on shift, he took bananas and checked on Dad’s welfare.  Another person from the Forum had dropped off a food parcel to dad as well.

“A week later I saw a post from Kevin asking for help in making washbags for staff.  I asked him to send me the pattern which I then forwarded to Sally Allsopp who runs our Business Enterprises team and immediately the prisoners set to work in making the magic happen!”

Leigh concludes: “Good news is Dad is back recovering at home he is going to make a donation to the NHS for all the care he received and especially crediting Kevin for going the extra mile”.