The Big Community Sew – Covid recovery


The Government made it compulsory to wear face coverings in public places in April 2020. This included shops, public transport and visitor attractions.


There were global shortages of personal protective equipment and an urgent need to preserve medical grade masks for front line NHS and social care staff.


Fashion designer Patrick Grant, best known for his role on The Great British Sewing Bee, conceived the concept of The Big Community Sew campaign to encourage the nation’s six million sewing machine owners to produce face coverings for their friends, family and neighbours.


Social was commissioned to deliver the campaign.

Our solution

The campaign went from conception to launch in a matter of days, and Social provided communications support across digital channels and the wider media, with the initial announcement made to four million viewers on BBC1’s The One Show.


Our strategy was to use a broad range of coordinated communications tactics to raise awareness of the campaign whilst also directly engaging with sewing groups and influencers.


We encouraged the sewing community to connect with and promote the campaign and empowered them to produce and distribute the face coverings themselves. Our website included a page for sewing groups to sign up, linking to their Facebook pages. This enabled them to promote their involvement in The Big Community Sew and directly respond to local requests.


We promoted campaign and user-generated videos on social media, primarily Twitter and Instagram, and were able to get into the heart of the sewing and crafting communities through influencers such as Tilly and the Buttons, Elisalex and Molly Makes Cakes.

A wider media campaign was also established, which saw us earn print and online coverage in national newspapers such as The Sun and Daily Express along with strong television coverage on BBC Breakfast, the BBC News Channel and ITV’s This Morning, along with radio coverage on BBC 5Live amongst others.

Our results

  • 1,000,000+ free face coverings delivered – based on sewing group feedback & reports on social media
  • Speedy supply of face coverings to vulnerable groups across the UK including the elderly, disabled groups and frontline workers
  • 348,000 views of how-to-videos posted on the Big Community Sew website
  • 35 pieces of print coverage in launch week alone, achieving an estimate 2.5m coverage views.
  • 5 standout pieces of national broadcast coverage
  • Helped to normalise the wearing of face coverings in public places
  • Mobilised over 120 sewing groups from Shetland to Torbay and Llanelli to Newry

What was achieved

The Big Community Sew is now an established charity with a mission to connect charities, hospitals and community groups who have an urgent need for sewing with volunteers who will sew for them.


Some of its current projects include supplying the NHS with incubator covers, children’s pyjamas and cloth bags for bereaved relatives.