Scrub Hub – an autonomous mutual aid response to Covid-19 | Article

Scrub Hub – an autonomous mutual aid response to Covid-19
Katya Lachowicz in interview with Jim Donaghey

"In the Covid-19 crisis the combination of serial incompetence, public services scythed by forty years of neo-liberalism, and a callous disregard for the lives of ordinary people came together with murderous results under Boris Johnson and the Tory party. The death of almost 65,000 people so far in the UK as a consequence of Covid-19 is the strongest possible indictment of the Tory government’s botched response, but the failure to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to health workers illustrates some of the character of their callous incompetence. The scandal highlighted several key issues: the UK’s unpreparedness for pandemic crises; the lack of industrial production of key resources in the UK; the sclerotic inefficiencies of centralised procurement and distribution in NHS Trusts augmented by the profiteering of outsourced private agencies; the disgracefully low pay of health care workers, their precarious working conditions, and the exploitation of migrant workers and BAME people.

But, as has been highlighted on this blog and elsewhere [for example – here, here and here] the coronavirus crisis has also generated inspiring responses by grassroots mutual aid initiatives, and the production of scrubs and gowns for health workers has been a particularly successful example of that. The Scrub Hub initiative started in Hackney Wick, London, in mid-March, and rapidly blossomed into 127 Scrub Hub groups across England, Scotland and Wales, each operating independently under the umbrella of the ‘Scrub Hub’ network.

Jim Donaghey met (virtually) with Katya Lachowicz, one of the core members of a Scrub Hub in East London which was established at the end of March. The group in Newham are on their way to producing a total of 900 scrubs ordered by 160 health workers for themselves and their colleagues. The group hit a peak of around 200 volunteers, but as people return to work that number is dwindling, though the demand for scrubs persists..."

Full article:

A Dutch translation is available at:

Scrub Hub East London:


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