A charity appeal to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients during the coronavirus pandemic has raised £100 million – with almost a third coming from the efforts of Captain Tom Moore.
Money has been used for a range of causes, including buying tablet computers so people in hospital can see their loved ones virtually, and to set up “wobble rooms” where staff can take a much-needed break during long shifts.
NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation bringing together all the official charities of the health service, has raised the funds in the past six weeks through corporate and private donations as well as from members of the public.
Alongside fun runs, charity singles and virtual quizzes, fundraising given a huge boost by 100-year-old military veteran Capt Tom, who raised more than £30 million by walking 100 laps of his garden.
So far £20 million of the total raised has been distributed to member charities across the UK.
Money has gone towards paying for accommodation for NHS staff who are trying to keep their families safe by living apart from them while working, as well as providing meals and welfare packs for hospital staff, and buying kettles, microwaves, fridges and radios.
At London’s St George’s Hospital, funds have been used to install wellbeing pods where tired doctors and nurses can take a power nap during long shifts, while Harefield Hospital has started Listening Ear programmes aimed at ensuring someone is there for NHS workers to speak to for emotional support.
The appeal is to stay open, with funds being targeted towards support for the mental health of staff and volunteers affected by the pandemic, and to fund partnerships in the community to help patients who have left hospital to recover fully at home.
Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said the organisation is “completely overwhelmed and delighted” by the response to the appeal, but knows there is more to be done.
She said: “We know that while the peak of new cases might have been reached, the work of the NHS is far from done. We must now look to the future and how we can combat the effects of Covid-19 on the mental and physical health of our NHS workers and volunteers, as well as patients.
“We look forward to working with our partners, and the public, as we move into this next phase. But first, we wanted to thank everyone who has already donated their time and resources so generously: your efforts are already having a huge impact and will continue to do so.”