Hairdresser creates hundreds of headbands to make South Yorkshire NHS workers’ masks more comfortable

A South Yorkshire hairdresser has created hundreds of headbands and scrub bags for NHS workers across the region.

Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 4:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 4:15 pm

Leona Steer was determined to contribute to the coronavirus community effort, when the salon she works for in Rotherham closed its doors back in March.

The 23-year-old, who once studied to be a seamstress, decided to unpack her sewing machine and set to work, creating items that could make life a little easier for our frontline workers.

“I’m obviously stuck at home in lockdown, with everyone else, but I really wanted to do something to contribute,” said Leona, of Brinsworth.

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Leona's headbands have been donated to NHS workers across the region, to help ease the discomfort of constant mask wearing

“I made a pattern for headbands, which include buttons for masks to attach to, that can bring a little comfort to those wearing them, helping to stop rubbing and cutting around their ears.

“I made some for friends who work in the NHS, and they were really appreciative.

“After that, I started getting requests from other wards and centres.”

Leona has now created more than 400 headbands, which have been sent to centres including Sheffield Hallamshire, Northern General, Rotherham Hospital, and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Leona's headbands have been donated to NHS workers across the region, to help ease the discomfort of constant mask wearing

“I can make about 20 a day, if I sew for ten hours,” said Leona, who started creating the bands just two weeks ago.

“I’ve also started making scrub bags, which mean people can take their uniforms off, pop them in the bags, and throw the bags straight in their washing machines when they get home.”

Leona is now receiving requests for both items daily, and is currently working hard on orders for Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Weston Park, and a number of care homes across the region.

She refuses to take any money for the bands, and is paying for everything out of her own pocket.

Leona's headbands have been donated to NHS workers across the region, to help ease the discomfort of constant mask wearing

“I had a lot of material left over from my time at college, so I started working through that first,” she explained.

“After that began to run low, I started getting donations of material and buttons dropped off from all kinds of lovely people, including my mum, and other seamstresses.”

Leona’s friend Jayne Owen-Brewster, who is a front line worker herself, said: “I’m so proud of what Leona is doing, completely off her own back and self-funded.

“The bands she’s making make life so much easier and bring a substantial bit of comfort to people working hard in a difficult situation.

Leona's headbands have been donated to NHS workers across the region, to help ease the discomfort of constant mask wearing

“So many people are reaching out to her, and messaging her on Facebook, and she just keeps working away. She’s fantastic.”

And Leona revealed her grandfather was a big part of her inspiration for helping.

“My grandfather bought me my sewing machine for my 16th birthday, and was always such a big supporter of whatever I was doing.

“He sadly died in December, and I recently brought all my sewing stuff over - that had lived in his spare room - to my own home.

“When I started thinking about how I could contribute, my eyes fell on the sewing machine, and I just knew what he’d tell me to do.

“He’d love me to do all I could to help, and I’ll carry on while ever there’s a need.”

Leona's headbands have been donated to NHS workers across the region, to help ease the discomfort of constant mask wearing
Leona's headbands have been donated to NHS workers across the region, to help ease the discomfort of constant mask wearing