It’s exactly two years since Boris Johnson announced the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown, and NHS Charities Together simultaneously launched its record breaking Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. Working with the network of 238 NHS charities, since then the charity has allocated an incredible £143 million across the UK – making a vital difference to NHS staff, patients and communities during the most challenging time in NHS history.
NHS Charities Together launched its Covid-19 Urgent Appeal on 23 March 2020, raising over £15 million in the first five days, and going on to raise over £150 million – the highest amount raised by any fundraiser ever – to support those at the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, as well as people most at risk from Covid-19.
Hundreds of thousands of people got behind the campaign, including the incredible Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised £39 million walking laps of his garden prior to the creation of the Captain Tom Foundation. Thousands of other supporters – including six-year-old Frank Mills and three-year old Daisy Briggs, who both live with spina bifida – made personal sacrifices to raise funds in their own unique ways, from walking and running to sky diving, dancing and baking.
High-profile celebrities got involved too, including NHS Charities Together Charity Champion Jordan Henderson, who coordinated Premier League footballers to fundraise for the NHS via the #PlayersTogether initiative, and Joe Wicks who donated proceeds from his amazing efforts to get the nation exercising at home.
Thanks to this generous support, vital funds were distributed to every NHS Trust and Health Board in the UK via the network of 238 NHS charities. Grants initially met urgent needs on the ground, then supported community projects tackling issues like isolation and mental health problems amplified by Covid. Later grants were made available to support the long-term recovery of the NHS, with over 400 projects dedicated to NHS staff mental health – including helplines, counselling, and dedicated support for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Other projects provided bereavement support for families, kept isolated patients connected with their loved ones using technology, carried out research into Long Covid and provided funding for thousands of emergency response volunteers. In addition, over 700 community partnership projects were created to tackle health inequalities and prevent ill health in local communities, while minimising pressure on the health service as it seeks to recover from the pandemic.
Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said:
“The NHS can’t face every challenge alone and we are so grateful for the British public’s support, which enabled us to help the NHS go further at this challenging time. Thanks to this generosity we’ve been able to fund hundreds of incredible projects providing emotional and practical help for staff, volunteers and patients.
“It’s wonderful to see the impact these projects are now having, but the NHS will continue to need our support now and in the long term, as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt both by staff and the inevitable backlog of patients needing treatment. Our message is that we are here for you all, whatever it takes.”
To find out more about the work of NHS Charities Together, please visit: www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk.