Two years after the first UK lockdown was announced – and NHS Charities Together launched its record-breaking fundraiser – Newcastle Hospitals Charity shares the difference public support has made locally
Two years since Boris Johnson announced the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown, we want to highlight the incredible impact of support provided by the British public through NHS Charities Together’s COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Launched the same day lockdown started, the Appeal awarded a total of £600,000 to Newcastle Hospitals Charity across 2020, with an additional grant of £1.5 million awarded at a later date.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have used funds for a variety of projects including:
- Funding additional psychological support for frontline staff at Newcastle Hospitals
- Funding bedside televisions on the COVID High Level Respiratory Unit to provide additional comfort and distraction to patients.
- Developing an outdoor break space for Therapy Services staff at the Freeman and RVI hospitals, allowing staff to take vital breaks in a COVID-safe and revitalising way.
These projects have enabled around 250 Newcastle Hospitals staff to access additional psychological support – helping their mental wellbeing as well as teaching them techniques to support the mental health of their patients – and approximately 300 COVID patients have benefitted from the bedside televisions, offering some ‘normality’ in very trying times.
These projects built on the emergency funding for immediate needs that was made available within days of the first lockdown in spring 2020. This was used for urgent support to Newcastle Hospitals staff, including the provision of fresh fruit, the rapid refurbishment of additional rest spaces in the Royal Victoria Infirmary, and additional help to staff who wanted to walk or cycle to work
In 2021, a further £1.5 million grant from NHS Charities Together was awarded to Newcastle Hospitals Charity, who led the bid on behalf of the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) Integrated Care System (ICS). This funding is being used to support eight two-year community partnership projects that will be delivered by a range of partners from within the NHS, community organisations and the charity sector. These partners are running projects to help tackle health inequalities, improve people’s mental health and wellbeing, and offering specialist support to people disproportionally affected by the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19.
Teri Bayliss, Director of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the public and NHS Charities Together for their support and funding through the COVID-19 Appeal. The difference the funding has made has been instrumental as our projects, such as psychological support for frontline staff and our extensive community partnership projects, have enabled us to make a fast and tangible difference to staff, patients and communities impacted by COVID and the challenges of the last two years.”
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.”
About NHS Charities Together
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 NHS Charities Together’s network of 238 NHS charities. To date the charity has allocated an incredible £143 million – making a vital difference during the most challenging time in NHS history. This includes funding more than 400 projects dedicated to NHS staff, including counselling, helplines, and specialist psychological support, and over 700 community partnership projects to tackle health inequalities and prevent ill health in the community.
To find out more about the work of NHS Charities Together visit nhscharitiestogether.co.uk.
We are incredibly grateful to the public and NHS Charities Together for their support and funding through the COVID-19 Appeal. The difference the funding has made has been instrumental as our projects, such as psychological support for frontline staff and our extensive community partnership projects, have enabled us to make a fast and tangible difference to staff, patients and communities impacted by COVID and the challenges of the last two years.Teri Bayliss Director of Newcastle Hospitals Charity