Gornal arts and crafts shop show support for front-line workers

By Jessica Rowley

The owners of a Gornal arts and crafts shop are using their creative skills making accessories for front-line workers during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Michelle Howard and her daughter Megan have been making free headbands, ‘ear-relievers’, rainbow badges and washbags to show their support for local NHS staff and key workers.

The pair who co-founded ‘Oh Flopping Fiddlesticks’, based in Louise Street, said they determined to step in and help out.

“Essentially it comes down to what’s a priority and for our community right now, that is our NHS and our key workers,” said Michelle, 40.

“They need assistance so if we can help them, and encourage the people in our group to craft more items that they need, then this something that needs to be done.

“It’s that vintage kind of ethos that’s calling on community spirit. We’ve got to do this together. There’s a lot of love in Gornal. We’ve really felt it since setting up our business here. We’ve always been about community, that’s always been our main thing.”

Michelle, who learnt to crochet when she was 13, has been creating rainbow coloured badges and ‘ear-relievers’ to help ease the pressure that many front-line workers are feeling from pro-longed mask use.

While Megan, 21, who came up with the initiative, has been making washbags and sewing buttons onto the headbands and ‘ear-relivers’, so they can be donated to those in need.

“Having had to close the shop, this is our main way of keeping occupied but still being able to do something valuable and contribute to our community,” she said.

“A student nurse reached out to me from Walsall Manor Hospital so we donated some yesterday afternoon. I’ve still got a lot more to make yet so we’ve been watching films and churning them out.

“The response we’ve received has been so positive- we’ve been asked for over 200 so far for district nurses, the Royal Orthopaedic ward, care homes and police teams”.

The pair have also donated 26 badges to the Brierley Hill out-of-hours community nursing team and are now appealing for donations of any washed pillowcases, sheets or duvet covers on their Facebook page to continue the initiative.

District nurse, Anna-Marie Herbert, said:

“It’s truly overwhelming the support that is being given to the NHS during this stressful time. Myself and my colleagues are so grateful of the community kindness that’s being shown”.

More details on how to help the appeal can be found on Oh Flopping Fiddlesticks Facebook page (​https://www.facebook.com/ohfloppingfiddlesticks​)