A not-for-profit campaign launched in March to provide hospital staff with meals throughout the pandemic has benefitted 16 hospitals, including St. George’s in Tooting.
CriticalNHS’s Janneke Diemel, one of the founders of the ‘Dosh for Nosh’ campaign, described how friend, Anthea Allen, Senior Sister at St. George’s ICU, made her aware of the lack of food resources available to staff.
She explained how Allen reached out to friends, saying that nurses were going to need help due to the lack of access to food resources in hospitals.
Diemel said: “Anthea’s staff always liked cakes and cookies – and the next morning she found three bin bags worth of cookies and cakes were left on her doorstep!
“But I said you can’t survive on junk food, you need something healthy!”
When Diemel and her friends, Niall Barrett, Anton Truter, Rory Scott and Demelza Clark grouped together to start CriticalNHS, by fundraising through PayPal they received £600 overnight.
Getting the word out about ‘Dosh for Nosh’ to their community in the first few days garnered around £25,000 – and by the end of August 2020 the campaign had provided 115,500 meals to hospital staff.
Diemel said: “The staff couldn’t get food on site before or after shift, so the doctors and nurses were going home and everyone had panic bought toilet paper!
“So we set up a dry store providing staples such as eggs and pasta, which we gave them twice whilst we were delivering food three times a day, so we quickly became a backbone.”
CriticalNHS restarted ‘Dosh for Nosh’ again in at the beginning of the month and at the time of writing, had raised £161,325.56.
They also received a £110,000 donation from a city hedge fund.
Whilst the situation at St George’s has improved, with on-site food facilities now available, something that wasn’t the case during the first lockdown, ‘Dosh for Nosh‘ still serves a valuable purpose.
CriticialNHS expanded their reach to hospitals throughout south London and Surrey, delivering to locations such as Kingston Hospital and University College Hospital – extending a hand to help those most vulnerable during the pandemic.
Diemel said: “We heard things about a lot of new people were coming to the soup kitchens, as they were unemployed because of COVID, so they were visiting soup kitchens for the very first time, which in itself is quite a sad story.”
After the success of CriticalNHS’s first campaign, they aimed to refocus their energies to the vulnerable, as well as NHS hospital staff at the end of last summer.
To find out more information about CriticalNHS’s work, visit: @CRITICALNHS – Support NHS Hospital’s Critical Care Staff
Featured image credit: CriticalNHS