Coronavirus: How can I donate to the NHS during the pandemic?

There are plenty of ways you can help from home

Qin Xie
Friday 17 April 2020 12:19 BST
A nurse at Aintree University Hospital sheds a tear and as she pays tribute to super fundraiser Captain Tom Moore
A nurse at Aintree University Hospital sheds a tear and as she pays tribute to super fundraiser Captain Tom Moore

Thousands of new cases of coronavirus are still being announced each day in the UK, coupled with hundreds of deaths.

The country remains on lockdown, with social distancing measures in place and no clear deadline of when these restrictions might be lifted.

But while it's easy to be overwhelmed with bad news in the current climate, there are some uplifting stories too.

Captain Tom Moore, a 99-year-old army veteran, has managed to raise more than £18m for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday.

He had originally set out a fundraising target of £1,000, but his target was smashed in just 24 hours as people around world donated towards his heroic efforts to support the NHS.

But Captain Moore is not alone and there's plenty you can do to help from home.

Here's what you need to know.

NHS Charities Together

NHS Charities Together, formerly Association of NHS Charities, is a central organisation that supports and represents individual NHS charities around the country.

They are known for big fundraising efforts, such as NHS Big Tea, that help raise money for big ticket equipment.

Right now, they have a dedicated Covid-19 appeal, which you can donate to directly here. This supports both NHS staff and volunteers.

The money raised would go towards funding wellbeing packs for staff and volunteers (including food and drink and cost of travel), buying devices for isolated patients so they can communicate with friends and family, mental health support for those affected and more.

It's a central pot that all the member charities have access to if they need additional monetary support. However, the money can't be used for personal protective equipment (PPE).

NHS Charities Together states: "The money raised through the appeal is being used, in line with our core mission, to fund grants to help NHS charities support the health and emotional wellbeing of NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients in ways above and beyond that which NHS funding can ordinarily provide.

"PPE is part of the core operation of the NHS and is funded by government."

Supporting your local NHS

If you want to support a hospital or NHS charity that's close to you, that's also possible.

The NHS Charities Together has a page on its website with links to individual charities within its membership network, but this isn't exhaustive of all the NHS organisations in the country.

It's also worth checking the website of your local NHS provider, who will offer details of how you can help some NHS Trusts have asked for monetary donations while others have asked for specific items, such as face masks.

For example, Guy's and St Thomas', the NHS trust that treated some of the first coronavirus patients in the UK, is currently asking for monetary donations from the public. It is also accepting items such as toiletries and face masks from business that can gift the items in large quantities.

Meanwhile, Berkshire Healthcare is looking for support in a number of ways, including help from people who might be able to make scrubs from bedsheets.

In all cases, you should check what the relevant NHS provider needs first.

How to feel less anxious about coronavirus

Other ways to donate

A number of dedicated Facebook groups have popped up with the purpose of helping local NHS providers. Many of these use Amazon wishlists as an easy way for people to donate to NHS staff.

Essentially, staff are able to create a wishlist on Amazon with what they need, which members of the public can shop from. Once purchased, the items are delivered by Amazon directly to the address specified by the person who created the wishlist.

At least 10 hospital trusts in England and Wales have been using Amazon Wish Lists to request donations for staff and patients according to reports.

In a wishlist set up for the South West Yorkshire Partnership Trust and seen by The Independent, items asked for included hand creams, deodorants and tissues.

One of the biggest is the NHS Kindness Wishlist, set up by Sara Platt for the NHS in Wales. It now has over 20,000 members donating everything from snacks and books to mobile phones and tablets that enable isolated patients to keep in touch with loved ones.

It's worth bearing in mind that while many are generously set up by members of the public, it's not a method of donation that's officially endorsed by the NHS at the moment. If you're unsure, opt for one of the official channels first.

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