How do you say thank you to the people who raised a scarcely believable £150m for NHS charities in such challenging circumstances? Well, you can’t really, the words aren’t big enough for the job.
When we launched our appeal back at the beginning of the pandemic, we hoped it would resonate with the public and we’d be able to do our bit to support NHS charities across the UK. But it struck a chord with you, as like us you were seeing daily what NHS workers and patients were going through as the COVID crisis unfolded. You wanted to do something and so many of you did.
Of course, one person who decided to do something was Captain Sir Tom Moore. This remarkable man paced his garden, the world was transfixed and the end result was over £30m raised for our appeal. But behind him were thousands of others who ran, cycled, walked, swam, held Zoom quizzes, put on performances, created charity singles, made amazing films, held events, sold products that generated proceeds for charity, did anything and everything to raise money for the appeal. We owe a huge debt of thanks to every single one of you and to all who gave money to the appeal as a result. It’s been a huge bright spot in a dark year.
So far, £110m has been allocated to NHS charities that cover every part of the country and the rest will be allocated shortly. During those first few difficult months back in the spring, our member charities used that money to provide urgent respite for NHS staff and volunteers working all hours to support patients – funding wobble rooms where they could take a break, providing a friendly voice on the end of the phone when things got on top of them, issuing electronic tablets so they, and the people they were caring for, could stay in contact with their loved ones.
The funding continues to be used to respond to that short term need, acting as a support network for those at the sharp end of this crisis. But it is also being used to give extra help to those people and communities who have and are being disproportionately affected by COVID, to support patients back in the community as they try to recuperate from the virus, and to put in place approaches to help the NHS, its staff, volunteers, patients and the communities it serves to deal with the longer term impacts of the crisis and start down the road to recovery. You can find out more about the impact the funding is making here.
It sometimes feels like we have always been living with COVID, but this crisis will pass. However, the work of NHS charities will go on, as it has done since even before the NHS came into being over 70 years ago.
Our members have been there the whole time, helping our hospitals do more. Collectively these charities give £1 million every day to the NHS so that people can stay well for longer and get better faster. They’ve funded capital projects, pioneering research and medical equipment at our hospitals, helped patients access the best possible care when they need it most.
And they have been able to do that, and can continue to do that, because of all of you. So, even though these words aren’t nearly big enough for what you’ve done – thank you.