Blog by Barbara Cathcart, Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity
Twelve months ago, our world changed almost overnight. As we all worriedly watched and read about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, we went into national lockdown and were urged to stay home, in order to protect our NHS and save lives.
As we entered our first lockdown, I sent out a message to the people of Nottingham, asking for your urgent support. The NHS staff at our hospitals were struggling to cope – not just with the volume of patients and the long hours, but many were struggling to get food to feed themselves and their families, finding empty supermarket shelves when they finished work after an exhausting day.
We quickly launched our Help your Hospitals campaign – an emergency appeal to provide immediate aid to staff at Nottingham’s NHS hospitals, as well as support their emotional wellbeing needs in the longer term, as we knew this pandemic would take its toll on their mental health.
As a charity, we were absolutely astounded by the overwhelming response from the people of Nottingham, who pulled together at a time of stress and worry for so many. We saw local businesses putting together food packages for our staff, and families walking, cycling and camping out in their gardens to raise money in support of their local NHS.
Thanks to your support, we raised over £300,000 – far beyond our original target. Here are some of the things we have been able to provide for NHS staff at Nottingham’s hospitals over the past year:
- Emergency food packages
- Sleep pods for staff to get some rest before or after their shifts
- Wellbeing centres where staff could take a break and get refreshments, as well as peer support from trained volunteers
- Refurbished outdoor areas to provide a quiet space away from the busy hospital environment
- Improved indoor staff areas, with comfortable seating and facilities to store and heat food during breaks from busy shifts
Scroll down to see more details of how your money has been spent.
I’d like to take this opportunity to give my heartfelt thanks to the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, without whose support this simply would not have been possible. Thanks to you, we’ve been able to make a real difference to the lives of our amazing NHS staff during this most challenging of years. Thank you so much.