The NHS Charities Together emergency coronavirus appeal has now raised almost £103m, hitting its £100m fundraising target.
The appeal launched on 23 March to raise money to support NHS staff and volunteers during the crisis. It has proven popular among the public, with dozens of fundraising initiatives happening across the country.
Some £20m has already been distributed to NHS Charities Together’s members. The umbrella body, which had a membership of around 140 before the crisis started, now represents more than 220 NHS charities.
Almost a third of the appeal’s total came from Captain Tom Moore’s 100th anniversary fundraising walk, which has now closed and raised close to £33m. Captain Moore won two Guinness World Records for it, one for the most money raised by an individual charity walk ever, and a second one for being the oldest person to reach number one in the UK charts, thanks to his cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone produced with Michael Ball.
Captain Moore’s walk also inspired a number of similar fundraisers. Six-year-old Frank Mills raised more than £280,000 for the appeal by walking 10 metres a day with his walking frame, starting from a target of £99.
Another successful public fundraiser for the appeal was Run for Heroes, which has raised more than £5m so far by asking people on social media to run 5k, donate £5 and nominate five friends to do the same.
The OneMillionClaps campaign, which asked the public to donate to the NHS Charities Together appeal as well as clapping on Thursday evenings, raised more than £1m.
The Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, donated £5m, while the Virtual Grand National raised more than £2.6m thanks to bookmakers donating profits from losing bets.
£20m given out
NHS Charities Together said that £20m has already been given out to members. An initial round of grants amounted to £35,000 for each charity regardless of size.
A second round was distributed by giving £7 per staff member in the NHS trust or trusts each charity supports.
Top grants included £315,000 given to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Endowments, £182,000 to University Hospitals Birmingham Charity and £164,500 to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – Awyr Las Charity in Wales.
‘Focus on mental health’
The initial focus of the appeal was to “meet the immediate and urgent needs of patients, staff and volunteers”, which included providing somewhere comfortable where staff and volunteers can take a break, food and drink, and tablets to help them stay in contact with loved ones.
Funds will also be spent on counselling support for staff and patients. A spokesperson for NHS Charities Together said that “there’s going to increasingly be a focus on mental health and recovery going forward from now”.
Part of the funds will also be used to support NHS partners such as hospices and healthcare and social care organisations.
‘Overwhelmed’ by the response
Despite having reached its target, NHS Charities Together said that the appeal will stay open, as the work “is far from done”.
Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “We have been completely overwhelmed and delighted by the response our appeal has received. This pandemic is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes and we’ve been so humbled by the nation rallying in support of NHS staff, volunteers and patients.
“But we know that while the peak of new cases might have been reached, the work of the NHS is far from done. We must now look to the future and how we can combat the effects of Covid-19 on the mental and physical health of our NHS workers and volunteers, as well as patients. We look forward to working with our partners, and the public, as we move into this next phase. But first, we wanted to thank everyone who has already donated their time and resources so generously: your efforts are already having a huge impact and will continue to do so.”