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Volunteer Sarah


Born in Hillingdon Hospital, Sarah Jane Gardner (nee Owen) has always lived in the borough and worked for the council's Community Safety, Anti Social Behaviour and Transformation teams.  Now working as a Project and Improvements Manager for a private company, Sarah's also a volunteer and, since COVID-19 has set up a charity and become a care caller. She hopes her Hillingdon story will inspire more people to volunteer in their community.

Serving Our Superheroes

I started the project back in April 2020, to provide laundry bags to frontline healthcare workers. They’d put their uniforms in the bags at work, then straight in the washing machine when they get home, to avoid cross contamination.

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I delivered over 2,000 laundry bags to care homes and hospitals, and soon the project grew to me and my sewing volunteers providing - not just laundry bags but also wash bags filled with toiletries, masks, shopping bags for food parcels to Hounslow Community FoodBox, (where I’m also a trustee) and even Hickman line belts for babies having chemotherapy.

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Thanks to the volunteers supporting me with sewing and donating toiletries, Serving Our Superheroes help support those most vulnerable; our NHS, the elderly in care homes and the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At shower box handing out washbags at showerbox with the hairdresser Claire

ShowerBox is a portable trailer in London with 2 cubicles for the homeless in London to get a shower and together with Claire, a freelance Hair and Makeup Artist (#gingerprincess) offered a free, monthly haircut to those using ShowerBox. Claire also volunteers as a driver for FoodBox and, more recently, we’ve brought in dentist Dr Anika who also attends ShowerBox, providing free dental advice.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in the project, including Ickenham Residents Association, Oak Farm Residents Association, and the lovely Ickenham Facebook group. The Rotary Club also supports the project, their members sewing and donations to purchase toiletries.  By 10 October 2020, Serving Our Superheroes had supplied ...

3,940 fabric face masks
3,110 fabric food bags for the Hounslow Community FoodBox and Anika Food Charity.
2,140 fabric laundry bags to frontline healthcare staff for their uniforms
1,952 fabric wash bags with; soap, shower gel, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, 2 face masks, combs, nail files, razors and deodorants
1,000 paper medical masks
500 nappies
310 blankets for the homeless
140 towels for the homeless
70 packs of sanitary towels
54 baby hats and cardigans
30 Hickman line belts, for babies having chemotherapy
20 scrubs hats
20 ear guards
20 tins of baby milk
3 bags of coats and clothes for the homeless Heathrow Rough Sleepers  Shelter  The Olympic House Homeless Support Project, Hounslow Community FoodBox, Hillingdon Hospital, Ealing Hospital, Mount Vernon Hospital, Michael Sobel Hospice, Harlington Hospice, Harefield Hospital, Queen Charlotte Hospital, Ickenham Clinic Rapid Response, Hayes Salvation Army, ShowerBox, London Ambulance Service, Anika Food charity, St John's Parish Centre, Bell Farm Christian Centre, the Helping Hillingdon Homeless Facebook group, the Heathrow Isolation Centre and many care homes and GP surgeries.

We got pots, pans and cutlery to those in temporary accommodation, books to care homes and raised £40 for the Hillingdon Hospital Trust and - I am pleased to announce that in September 2020 Serving Our Superheroes (SOS) became a Registered Charity, No. 1191410.

Hillingdon 4ALL

During the pandemic I also volunteered for Hillingdon for All, as a COVID-19 Care Caller. I registered in March and began training in May, after background checks were complete. The training was comprehensive which gave me confidence. It's quite straight forward - you call people that need someone to talk to, for whatever reason. I’m good at talking and listening so I found it very easy.

You’re assigned a supervisor, a permanent member of H4ALL. They’re very supportive and guide you through any concerns. There are clients with different, sometimes difficult needs - someone alone and lonely, elderly, disabled and less able to get out. Some just need someone to chat to, others may have concerns and need signposting to another agency, H4ALL arrange all of this.

My career has given me years of good experience, however you don’t need specialist skills - the H4All team are on hand to deal with any matters that arise. You just need to make the call and assess the needs of the client, note any concerns or help required then hand it over to the H4ALL team. The times you make the calls are flexible, agreed between you and the client, to fit around commitments either of you have. It's very rewarding and a good way to help out during the pandemic, a way to do something positive, help others and focus. It's also very interesting hearing about other people's stories.

Other volunteering roles I undertake

I have been volunteering for over 16 years. Since Covid-19 it has been very busy for me, helping out in the community as much as possible. I have a day job as a Projects and Improvements Manager and 2 young children, so it's been very busy but rewarding.

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I’m a trustee of Hounslow Community Foodbox, Vice Chair of Thamesbank Credit Union, an Army Cadet Instructor, School Governor, Dementia Champion and on the committee of Click Rukiga, as well as being a Rotarian.  I find volunteering very rewarding and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. You get to meet lots of new people, gain many new skills while helping others less fortunate.

Volunteering Opportunities

To help with Serving Our Superheroes please email
Follow the project, comment and get updates via

I’m also managing a project to help those living with dementia, as part of the Rotary club and looking for volunteers to make twiddle muffs!

Twiddle Muffs Twiddle Muffs 2

Twiddle Muffs are knitted devices to keep hands active and busy. They provides a wonderful source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation - and keeps hands snug and warm!

If knitting’s not your thing there are sewing ideas; sensory aprons, sensory bean bags, fidget quilts etc. Email


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