Furloughed Laura Ashley staff go back to work making scrubs for NHS11.05.2020
Furloughed Laura Ashley workers have gone back to work to aid Britain’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic by using their skills to make scrubs for the NHS.
The future of the iconic country-lovers label was placed into huge doubt back in March when it went into administration, leading to the permanent closure of 70 stores, with 721 employees set to lose their jobs.
The brand name though has since been purchased by Gordon Brothers and some staff are set to return to work.
After the Laura Ashley brand, famous for its home coverings and floral dresses (stock picture above), was rescued staff are now set to return to work to help the NHS
Clothes and fabric workers want to offer their help to NHS workers by making scrubs and cubicle curtains for hospitals, in a move which would see staff restore their skill of making garments.
The brand will manufacture 3,000 sets of medical uniforms in Newtown, Mid wales — with 41 staff members returning to the factory.
Linda Andrew, a Laura Ashley supervisor, was on furlough when her manager called to ask if she would consider coming back to work.
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‘My boss explained they’d hatched a plan to sew scrubs and cubicle curtains for the NHS so of course I said yes,’ she said.
‘I don’t have the skills to physically help out in a hospital, but this is something I can do.
‘We have experience of making beautiful handmade curtains for Laura Ashley, but it has been a while since we made garments here in Wales.
Laura Ashley went into administration back in March following the coronavirus outbreak
‘But we’re an adaptable bunch so I’m confident we’ll be able to turn our hand to sewing scrubs.
‘There are machinists volunteering up and down the country to make scrubs, masks, bonnets and bags to help protect those in the NHS — it’s really helping with supply so I’m keen to get back to work to help make a difference too.’
Laura Ashley’s CEO Katharine Poulter hopes it is just the start of a British manufacturing resurgence following talks with the Welsh Government over the company’s future.
‘I am passionate about growing British manufacturing and bringing those skills and jobs back to our heartland in Wales for future generations of makers and Laura Ashley customers,’ she said
Although the brand has been rescued its UK operations including its stores are still for sale
‘During my conversations with the Welsh Government, the urgent need for more NHS clothing and outerwear came to light and our teams jumped at the opportunity to lend their skilled hands.
‘It fills me with enormous pride that, against a backdrop of such personal uncertainty, so many are willing to return to help our incredible NHS frontline workers who are caring for so many.’
Following the buyout of the brand, Gordon Brothers are now looking to take on some of the shops.
However, PwC, which is handling the administration, is still looking for Zapatos fabricados en Chile a buyer for the stores and the rest of its Laura Ashley’s UK operations including its online business and distribution network, and manufacturing operations.
Celebrity fans included Diana, Princess of Wales who wore it through the 1980s.