Help Our NHS was established with the key objective of trying to do something positive, for frontline staff during what are likely to be very difficult weeks & months ahead during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Working within intensive and critical care units is a demanding and often exhaustive role. But with the unprecedented pressures being put on these units and the staff involved, we want to do all we can to help provide some practical relief for staff.
After connecting with individuals within the food & drinks industry and realizing distribution to staff throughout the country was easily achievable, what started as an idea to help hospitals nearby has snowballed into a plan to provide consistent and regular “care packages” to as many frontline locations for as long as possible during this outbreak.
Our initial supply of resources stemmed from generous donations from food and drinks manufacturers and suppliers, as well as donations of toiletries from hotel chains and their suppliers as well as music industry touring personnel and local donations.
We are now working alongside these UK-wide industries to establish favorable rates for bulk purchases of supplies – items such as ready meals & sandwiches, crisps & snacks, hot & cold drinks, as well as hotel-size boutique toiletries & hand creams, which are suitable for both patients and staff.
Through friends and colleagues in the music and events industry, an initial suggestion for a few well-known artists to assist with fundraising has grown arms and legs to result in a fundraising raffle with over three dozen contributors, presented under the title “NHS Fest”.
We have formed a partnership with The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, which allows Help Our NHS to operate as a stand-alone project within their existing infrastructure – something that has taken Help Our NHS from an idea to a very real & tangible project. We will be utilizing money raised from the raffle, donations and sales of merchandise to immediately secure stock and start organising & distributing items across the country. The amount of money raised will determine the duration of the project, but our goal is to maintain a regular supply of beneficial items during this outbreak and perhaps beyond.
Our most recent development is connecting with like-minded projects, such as People Powered & MedSupplyUK, who seek to assist with more practical requirements on the frontline. This is an area that wasn’t first considered within the scope of Help Our NHS, but is certainly something we would love to assist with if possible.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
There are various ways to donate to Help Our NHS:
• Take part in the “NHS FEST” raffle
• Donate directly
• Purchase Help Our NHS / NHS FEST merchandise
• Provide supplies to be included in frontline staff care packages
With everyone involved in the project volunteering their time and skills, and most suppliers of goods & services kindly offering them at dramatically reduced or cost to produce rates, we aim to maximize the use of any funds raised. The following are key costs that we foresee at this early stage of the project:
Raffle administration costs
Operated through The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice’s established lottery license.
PPWH charity operation fees
The minimal operation fee raised through this raffle will go towards benefiting PPWH’s own day-to-day operations, which include caring for patients at the end of their lives and caring for individuals affected by Covid-19, so very much in line with the project objectives.
Postage & packaging of raffle prizes
Currently unspecified costs to deliver raffle prizes to winners safely & securely.
Purchase of care package contents
Every £100 raised would allow us to deliver a care package to frontline NHS staff including items such as:
• x10 lip balm (5ml) and x10 boxed soaps (30g)
• x20 shower gel and x20 hand & body lotion (both 30ml)
• x10 chilled ready meals and x5 sandwiches
• x10 packets of crisps, x10 chocolate bars and x3 boxes of cakes
• x24 soft drinks cans, x24 still water, x24 sparkling water, and x12 Red Bull
• x3 packs of biscuits
• x1 pack of tea bags (x80) and x1 jar of coffee (100g)
This amount also factors in services provided by a distributor, who receive the contents from various suppliers, separate them out into smaller quantities, and repackage them for distribution. The above prices are based on lower quantity wholesale purchasing and there may be the opportunity to reduce costs further by purchasing in bulk.
Business-related operational expenses
Currently unspecified costs to provide business-related support to the project, including but not limited to business management, taxation, accountancy, and charity & fundraising legalities.
As the scale of the project has increased and the potential scope established, it’s become clear that Help Our NHS could be a large-scale operation and may require full time management to run efficiently and effectively. We would intend to operate on a volunteer basis for as long as possible, with only essential personnel being brought on board and paid at a rate in line with others working in similar roles within the sector.
As the project develops, and the needs of medical staff and the greater frontline network become clearer, we would intend to maintain regular dialogue with staff on a national, regional and, where possible, local level to ensure our efforts are relevant to their current needs and to minimize waste & supplication of supplies. Reporting updates via our social media channels, website, and potentially an e-mail newsletter would serve to notify all interested parties and allow for means of feedback.
We would also seek to remain transparent regarding on-going costs and update where necessary.