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March 26, 2023

Three years on: How NHS charities £160 million Covid-19 Appeal has changed healthcare in Bolton

Three years since the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown, Our Bolton NHS Charity is highlighting the incredible impact of support provided by the British public through NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.

Announced on the same day as lockdown, the Appeal ultimately awarded £325,600 to Our Bolton NHS Charity to enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 and to support the long recovery of the NHS following the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, Our Bolton NHS Charity used funds for a variety of projects, including:

  • The development and delivery of workplace wellbeing programmes to support the emotional and psychological wellbeing of staff during incredibly challenging circumstances, ensuring they were able to continue to provide high standards of care to patients
  • Refurbishment of staff and patient facilities, including staff rooms, a community hub for staff network meetings and support groups, and prayer rooms to provide much-needed spaces for rest, reflection and recovery to boost wellbeing and morale.
  • The development of a Bolton digital health app library (powered by ORCHA) designed to help patients prepare for appointments and surgery, including how to make a plan for care and treatment manage long-term health conditions at home

Investing in these projects has already made an important difference to NHS patients, staff and the local community.

To date more than 17 refurbishment projects have taken place, benefitting approximately 1,000 members of staff. In Pharmacy, rest facilities have been revamped to provide colleagues with comfortable, relaxing and well-equipped spaces where they can take time to rest and reflect during the working day.

Steve Simpson, Chief Pharmacist at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said:

The pandemic knocked the wind out of us all. The daily challenges we all had to face and the uncertainty of what was coming in the future, really got everyone down, it was a scary time. Staff were tired, drained, upset, scared and I am so proud of everyone for getting through those tough times and overcoming these daily pressures.

“This recently refurbished staff room provides a bright, comfy and fresh space where staff can unwind together on their breaks and recharge their batteries for the rest of their shift. It’s made a huge difference to team morale.

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 £160 million to support those at the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, as well as people most at risk from Covid-19, and help the NHS go further.

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.

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.

Here in Bolton, former Burnley FC Captain Ben Mee spent an afternoon at Royal Bolton Hospital listening to colleagues who bravely shared their individual experiences of working through the pandemic and how money raised through the #PlayersTogether initiative was used to support their well-being at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

Ben said:

It’s clear to see that for staff, the pandemic has been relentless, and they continue to work under high levels of pressure whilst only just beginning to process the trauma they’ve been through. We have to care for them like they care for us and continue to support them for the long term.

Sarah Skinner, Charity Manager of Our Bolton NHS Charity, said:

We are incredibly grateful to NHS Charities Together for its support and funding through the Covid-19 Appeal.

“Thanks to the fundraising efforts and generosity of hundreds of people across Bolton during the pandemic, the grant scheme has allowed us to create a lasting legacy.

“The projects we’ve funded, such as workplace wellbeing programmes and the refurbishment of rest and prayer facilities, will serve as a poignant reminder of how we all came together in support of the NHS during the greatest challenge of its 75-year history.

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said:

Thanks to the public’s incredible generosity during the pandemic we have been able to fund thousands of projects across the UK helping the workforce, patients and communities.

“Three years on things have not got any easier for our health service and the support NHS charities provide is more important than ever. With the public’s help, together we are working hard to help the NHS go further at what remains an incredibly challenging time – and we’re grateful for everyone who helps make that possible.

To find out more about the work of Our Bolton NHS Charity and how you can support, visit the website.

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