With numbers of Covid cases (once again) very high, hospitals are (once again) overstretched. As we all look towards getting through the tough next few weeks, perhaps now is the time to think about doing something nice for the NHS staff near you. Here’s six ways to do it.
1. Join Furloughed Foodies
Back in Lockdown One, an ever-expanding group of furloughed Londoners started making food to feed NHS frontline workers. The result? Thousands of meals delivered to hospitals around the city. Now, the project has returned, pledging to supply at least 5,000 meals to NHS key workers and vulnerable people over the next six weeks. Want to help? They’re looking for volunteer cooks and drivers.
If you want to brighten up the day of a staff member at this east London healthcare centre, head to its Amazon wish list and treat people there to juice, cordial, biscuits, crisps, coffee, disposable spoons or some hand cream. ‘We have added some new items to our list now we find ourselves in pandemic part 2…’ organisers write on the page. ‘All items purchased are for staff and patients at Homerton Hospital during and after the Covid 19 crisis. Thank you for your continued support.’
3. Donate to an action fund
Lots of London hospitals have launched collection pots, with the money donated to them going for treats and essentials for staff working through the pandemic. For example, there’s the Royal Free Charity Covid-19 Emergency Fund. There’s a Croydon fund. There’s also the King’s College Hospital Charity. And, of course, there are plenty more across the city.
Crosstown Doughnuts is still running its lockdown project: Operation Doughnation. Head to its website to buy a bundle of doughnuts and cookies (from £19.50 for 6 of each to £132 for nearly 100 sweet treats) and they’ll drop it off at one of its partner organisations including hospitals, vaccination centres and emergency services (as well as the Met Police, Schools, and other frontline services). It’s a hassle-free way to get some sugary stuff to people working very hard right now.
5. Call up your local hospital and see what they need
Want to make your own non-monetary donation to the staff at your local health centre? Don’t just go packaging up some sarnies to drop off on your daily walk. Get in touch with the hospital to see what they’re accepting (lots aren’t taking homemade food) and what they need (maybe it’s hand cream not Haribo right now). Some hospitals have email addresses – eg. email email@example.com to donate to King’s College Hospital or firstname.lastname@example.org for Princess Royal University Hospital – and, for others, just call up reception.
If you’d rather give your time than gifts and money you can sign up to volunteer as a Covid-19 active responder at hospitals trusts including Bart's Health. The role involves checking the temperatures of visitors as they arrive at the hospital, manning the staff wellbeing room (providing hot drinks and refreshments), helping visitors find their way around the building and more.
Read our series View From The Frontline.