Sponsored runs, virtual bike rides, a quiz and lockdown photography are just some of the ways that residents and business have raised over £50,000 to support staff working at Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust as they battle the coronavirus pandemic.
SASH Charity launched the staff welfare appeal in April so that the community could directly support staff at East Surrey Hospital and the trust’s other services.
The success of the appeal has already led to the funding of a new de-stress room for staff at East Surrey Hospital, complete with massage chairs and indoor plants.
SASH Charity is also preparing wellbeing packs and foot massagers for intensive care and respiratory ward staff who spend long shifts on their feet.
Staff are being asked for their feedback on what would make the most difference to them so that funding can have a lasting impact, as the charity hopes to reach £75,000.
Among the local people who have supported the appeal, nine-year-old Haydon Earl from Reigate raised more than £1,100 by running 100km running around his garden and local area.
He was inspired to help after seeing the care first-hand at East Surrey Hospital, when his younger brother hurt his knee on a trampoline and had to go to A&E.
Charlie Earl, Haydon’s mother, said of his efforts: “We measured out a 25m line and he ran up and down 200 times to make 5km.
“The donations have really helped spur him on and we are all immensely proud of him doing this in these strange times.
“Living locally we have used East Surrey a few times and both boys were born there and we are so pleased this will help them.”
Others taking part in the appeal have included Redhill Cycling Club, who raised over £3,000 by holding a virtual bike ride from Lands End to John o’ Groats over the first weekend in May.
Also on wheels, Jamie Farley brought in more than £1,500 in a virtual cycling challenge up Everest, which his employer BlackRock will match.
And Reigate-based photographer Caroline Pocock, from Fable Photography, raised more than £3,600 snapping portraits of families on their doorsteps during her daily exercise.
Further afield, Dorking-based The Ashcombe Brass ensemble raised nearly £1,000 through a virtual performance, and Oxted-based DJ Jackinthebox streamed live sets in order to fundraise.
Caterham School held an online quiz with over 200 teams, bringing in around £7,000.
Nursing assistant Kate Knight, 60, ran four marathons in four weeks around her local streets.
And Gatwick Airport owners Vinci Airports have provided a grant of £8,000.
Run Series, the organisers of Run Reigate and Run Gatwick, have also launched a virtual event encouraging people to fundraise for the charity while doing their socially-distanced exercise.
Michael Wilson CBE, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who is raising money for our staff.
“It’s been relentless for our staff and these donations are allowing us to put in place some immediate respite while we get lots of feedback on how best to spend the majority of the funds.
“Not only that, but the stories of the fundraising efforts are spurring on our staff too – thank you.”
Andrew Bickerdike, fundraising manager at SASH Charity, said: “So many people are doing amazing things for our staff, it’s wonderful to see.
“It’s been a very challenging time and thanks to the support from our community we can put in place some immediate benefits for staff while also working with our frontline teams to make sure the money supports them where it is needed most in the long term.
“Everyone at SASH would like to say a huge thank you to our local community.”
Anyone wishing to donate or fundraise for the appeal, including by text message, can find out more on a SASH Charity webpage.
The charity works to improve experiences for patients and staff at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, above and beyond what would otherwise be possible.
Prior to the coronavirus, projects included the creation of the dementia-friendly Camomile Courtyard at East Surrey Hospital.