BUSY frontline staff at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust have benefitted from nutritious meals and sweet treats during shifts, thanks to £150,000 of charity funding.
The grant awarded by the Trust’s dedicated charity, Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, provided around 45,000 meals over 16 weeks for NHS staff working during the Covid-19 pandemic and was made possible thanks to a large donation by the Acott Family Charitable Foundation.
The service was initially set up in collaboration with Surrey Event Professionals to provide support to NHS workers at the peak of the virus, as they faced increasingly long shifts, together with long queues at supermarkets and empty shelves. It has since grown to not only provide meals to the staff at the hospital in Guildford but also to the Trust’s community hospitals in Haslemere, Milford and Cranleigh, as well as employees needing to self isolate away from families at local hotels.
Laura Taylor, Senior Sister of the Older People’s Unit at Royal Surrey County Hospital, said:
“On a day when you’ve been rushed off your feet, or you’re feeling emotionally drained, and it’s just a simple meal offer, or some chocolate or a biscuit – just something so simple. It doesn’t cost loads but for the impact it has, it’s so worth it. It means a lot to the staff here. We’re just so grateful for all the support.”
With the support of local businesses and volunteers – including Lavender Catering, Keeley’s Kitchen, Hermanos Tacos, Butter and Cream Cakes, Barbecue Chefs, The Tipsy Pigs, Woodhaven Space, Pesto Food and Caper and Berry – meals and snacks were delivered seven days a week to staff, totalling around 4,000 meals a week during the height of the pandemic.
David Smith, Head of Fundraising at Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, said:
“We are incredibly grateful to the Acott Family Charitable Foundation for their substantial donation. It means, together with support from local caterers, we were able to provide tens of thousands of delicious meals to our amazing staff as they continued the fight against COVID-19.
“We’ve seen first-hand the difference the meals have made, and we’re thrilled to be working with local businesses to makes things that little bit easier for busy staff, and to support their wellbeing at this challenging time. We are also putting longer-term measures in place – such as staff rest areas and tablets so they can keep connected with loves ones – to ensure staff wellbeing continues to be a priority in the future.”
Ken and Linda Acott established the Acott Family Charitable Foundation in 2019, to make grants available in the areas of education, religion, medicine, health and wellbeing, with an emphasis placed on supporting charitable organisations in its local area.
Ken Acott said:
“When we created our family foundation, little did we imagine the impact a pandemic would have on society but it has quickly become apparent that our front line NHS staff, and all those who support their incredible, dedicated and selfless work, would emerge as true heroes and the ultimate saviours of us all.
“The Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust with the county hospital in Guildford, together with its community healthcare services in Haslemere, Milford and Cranleigh, is our local hospital. As soon as we became aware of the initiative to provide much-needed meals for those staff – working unbelievably long hours, in the toughest of conditions, and with many isolating away from their families – we were delighted to be able to help fund this.
“We are proud to support the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity and play our part in making this possible.”
Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity launched its COVID-19 emergency appeal at the end of March to support frontline NHS staff and patients during the pandemic and beyond. To donate to the charity, or to find out more, please visit: www.rschcharity.org.uk