West Ham United has today, on International Nurses Day, made a pledge of support for the Club’s local NHS trusts across East London and Essex, by committing to a range of new positive community initiatives which will help the NHS to provide vital support for patients and staff.
The Hammers are putting their efforts into a dedicated set of fundraising initiatives, agreed in conjunction with NHS experts, and based on their views on how the Club can best support them in dealing with COVID-19. The activities will directly benefit Barts Charity – the dedicated charity for Barts Health NHS Trust, and King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity, who support the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).
This pledge of support comes at a time when the NHS, and the humbling work done by all those on the healthcare frontline, are continuing to tackle the extreme challenge caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NHS staff are tackling COVID-19 on the frontline every day and they are the true heroes in this, sacrificing so much in the process
West Ham United has historically had close ties with many hospitals across the region, seeing regular player visits to patients and staff over the years – more recently through the Club’s Players’ Project.
Moreover, through its breadth of initiatives, by the end of the 2021 a total of £28million will have been invested across local communities, with the purpose of motivating, inspiring, educating and responding to local need. So far, these programmes have created more than £1.4million of annual savings to the NHS delivered through diabetes prevention, 281 school and educational partnerships and they directly work with up to 50,000 participants in Foundation led initiatives each year.
Now, the Hammers are going even further and worked with both charities to ensure our support is focused on addressing the things that frontline NHS workers need both now, and in the future:
- A commitment to promote their critically important charitable appeals
- Fundraising initiatives for equipment and staff wellbeing
- An initial donation of 1,000 shirts for West Ham supporting patients and NHS staff
- Mobilising the staff at West Ham United and its Foundation to volunteer to support local NHS trusts
- Using the first opportunity at a West Ham United match to promote the trusts and support their fundraising, as well as celebrating NHS workers
- Special experiences for patients and their families, and NHS workers, to raise the spirits of those who have been through so much during the pandemic
- Morale-boosting messages for patients and staff
Barts Charity supports Barts Hospital, Newham University Hospital, Royal London, Mile End, Whipps Cross and the Nightingale Hospital located at the Excel Centre in East London, on standby to treat patients with COVID-19, should it be required.
BHRUT run two hospitals – King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital in Romford – and also serve clinics across outer north east London and run services from Barking Hospital.
West Ham United’s Vice-Chairman Karren Brady said: “It is a privilege for the Club to be able to support Barts Charity, and King George and Queen’s hospitals, who are working on our doorstep in East London. NHS staff are tackling COVID-19 on the frontline every day and they are the true heroes in this, sacrificing so much in the process.
“Mobilising the Claret & Blue Army to get behind their appeals means we can say thank you in a number of ways, across a range of activities, and hopefully in the process we can brighten the days of many patients who are also in need of support.
“As soon as we are able to, we look forward to welcoming and celebrating our NHS heroes at London Stadium, giving them the recognition they deserve.”
Fiona Miller Smith, Chief Executive of Barts Charity, added: “Although we fund medical research with a worldwide reach, East London is our home and where, as the dedicated charity for Barts NHS Trust hospitals, our support is most directly felt. As such we are absolutely delighted that West Ham is backing our appeal.
“The Club’s support will have a direct impact in the fight against COVID-19 and is an amazing way to say thank you to our NHS staff in the frontline of the response. This gesture will resonate strongly with communities right across East London.”
Among other things, the Barts Charity appeal is providing £80,000 worth of iPads for patients in isolation wards to help them keep in touch with loved ones, £50,000 worth of funding for production of 3D-printable, reusable PPE visors and staff wellbeing hubs – spaces for staff to unwind and decompress – in each of the hospitals. The Charity is also working with the Trust on a plan to provide long term emotional and psychological support to staff.
Tony Chambers, Chief Executive of BHRUT, said: “I know there are many Hammers fans among not only our patients, but also our staff, so we are absolutely delighted to receive this support from a much-loved local football club.
“One of the positives to come out of this pandemic has been the truly humbling outpouring of love from the public for hardworking NHS staff, and I often hear what a difference these generous donations have made to our staff. To have West Ham backing our charity will ensure this continues.”
The King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity is currently running a fundraising appeal focusing on looking after the health and wellbeing of staff at the trust, to ensure they are well-looked after during the pandemic, and beyond.
The charity has also received incredible donations throughout the pandemic, including over 92,000 meals for hardworking staff, sofas for staff wellbeing rooms, and 22,000 items such as toiletries to go into staff wellbeing and survival packs.
The Club will be announcing further activity to support our local trusts in due course, but in the meantime should you wish to support these urgent appeals, donations can be made to Barts here and to BHRUT here.
*Please note that all the photographs in this story were taken at events held before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic