Skip to main content

Bag the Bug

1577. Donna Powell

Donna Powell, from Bolton, created the ‘Bag the Bug’ initiative which has seen more than 40,000 handmade wash-bags sent to NHS staff and key workers to help them transport used uniform home while avoiding contamination.

Donna Powell

Donna was inspired to start the initiative after making a couple of wash-bags for her daughter Laura, who works as a radiographer with the NHS, to help her bring her uniform home securely and reduce the risk of passing on Coronavirus. She then made 60 more bags for several of Laura’s colleagues, and soon realising there was a greater demand from NHS and frontline workers, Donna established a Facebook group calling on further volunteers. All the cotton bags made by volunteers are able to be put straight into a washing machine at 60 degrees celsius, ensuring there are no loose items of clothing which may be contaminated.

In a personal letter to Donna, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I want to thank you for your ‘Bag The Bug’ initiative. It is a brilliant idea and another way to give back to NHS workers, like your daughter Laura, who do so much for us.

“I was astonished at the scale of what you have achieved in your sewing circle. You have helped make over 40,000 wash bags for NHS staff, helping to keep us all safe as we continue the battle with Coronavirus.”

Donna said:

“How amazing, thank you very much for this award. Being number 1577th in a population of around 60 million, I feel very proud. I was shocked to receive this award as I had no idea about my nomination.

“‘Bag the Bug’ has helped many thousands of people in the NHS Dentist Hospices and Care homes. Needless to say, I look forward to a day when we are no longer required.

“The generosity of people has allowed us to continue and through the strength of local community, we have delivered over 40,000 bags. I have seen firsthand how this has helped the mental health of volunteers as well as the safety of the recipients and all by coordinating the product of such a simple item.”

Donna Powell

See more about ‘Bag the Bug’

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

Volunteer now

Search winners