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Donations to the COVID-19 Urgent Appeal funded more than 600 projects including counselling, helplines and employee rest areas, its annual report said.
The body represents 241 health charities and its bosses singled out the efforts of the late Capt Sir Tom, who walked 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, fitness guru Joe Wicks, Premier League footballers led by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and many others.
The campaign was the most successful appeal ever by NHS Charities Together – £39million alone was down to Army veteran Sir Tom, who died in February.
Ellie Orton, its chief executive, said: “We still feel completely blown away by everyone’s efforts – including the wonderful Capt Sir Tom, who raised a phenomenal sum and inspired so many others.
“People wanted to show their gratitude. But we are now facing a long period of recovery, with a significant toll on exhausted workers, a backlog of patients and clinics that are busier than ever.”
Projects supported in 2020 also included intensive psychological help for post-traumatic stress disorder, research into long Covid, bereavement care, digital devices to keep isolated patients connected with loved ones and providing specialist equipment.
Medics yesterday thanked the public.
Emma Squires, from patient support at University Hospital Southampton, said the money her unit received helped patients “who fall into the middle ground of being clinically well enough for discharge but who would benefit from a bit of extra practical and emotional support”.
She added: “That may include food parcels until they are back on their feet, an ear to listen and perhaps help to signpost to well-established community volunteering services that could help with longer-term support. Many refer to the service as a ‘lifeline’.”
Dr Dan Menzies, a chest consultant at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, North Wales, said: “We’ve been able to fund a Covid Medical Fellowship, so a specialist junior doctor can stay abreast of the latest in Covid treatment.”
Charities Together last year gave £42million to urgent NHS needs, £33million to community projects and £35million to support the recovery of the NHS. So far this year, it has spent millions more funding thousands of emergency first responder volunteers to take pressure off ambulance services.
Comment by Ian Lush
The incredible Captain Sir Tom Moore raised nearly £40million for our Covid appeal.
Thousands of other supporters, including six-year-old Frank Mills and three-year-old Daisy Briggs, made sacrifices to raise hundreds of thousands in their own ways.
Joe Wicks generously donated proceeds from his amazing efforts to get the nation exercising and Jordan Henderson coordinated Premier League footballers to fundraise for the NHS. In total, we raised an unbelievable £150million, most of which has already been allocated across the UK through our 241 member NHS charities.
It’s been an incredibly challenging 18 months for us all with the journey we have been on as a nation and global community.
The support from the public during this time has been heartfelt, and people really wanted to do their bit to support the NHS to help it cope with this unprecedented situation.
Hundreds of thousands of people got behind the NHS, from clapping on doorsteps to donating to our ‘One million claps’ campaign, or set challenges, from walking and running to sky diving and baking.
We are so grateful.
• Ian Lush is the chairman of NHS Charities Together.
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