Coronavirus appeal: Royal Free Charity launches emergency fundraiser to support staff during pandemic

Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead on Sunday, March 22, 2020. Picture: André Langlois

Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead on Sunday, March 22, 2020. Picture: André Langlois - Credit: Archant

The Royal Free Charity has launched an urgent fundraising campaign to support the efforts of north London hospital staff on the frontline treating those with the coronavirus.

The fundraising effort, which will help staff at the Royal Free NHS Trust’s three hospitals, is designed to “get a complete support service in place as quickly as possible” for medics and auxiliary staff.

The trust has 10,000 staff across three sites, the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, Barnet Hospital, and Chase Farm Hospital.

In an appeal for public support, the trust said its workforce was “responding heroically to the biggest challenge the NHS has ever faced”.

The new emergency fund will be used to provide care packages to staff at the end of shifts, bolster psychological support for workers and even create spaces for respite for staff within the hospital buildings.

“We are reaching out directly to the local community,” said Judy Dewinter, the Royal Free Charity’s chair of trustees. “We are asking your local NHS staff what they need and your response is going to make a real difference to their lives. Your donation will go directly to help them as they work under pressure and in the most challenging of circumstances.”

Judy continued: “This is about us caring for people who don’t have time to care for themselves right now because they are looking after our loved ones. “We have had children asking to donate their pocket money and offers of help from individuals and local businesses. I am incredibly proud to launch this campaign and to ask for your help. We want the message to be loud and clear for staff at our hospitals: ‘You are our heroes and we will support you with whatever you need.’”

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Dominic Dodd, who chairs the Royal Free NHS Trust, said: “Every person on our team – from the doctors and nurses to the porters, cleaners and support staff, is playing a vital role in being there for others during this emergency. Please join our team effort by showing your appreciation, gratitude and solidarity for them at this very difficult time.”

To donate, find details of the Royal Free Charity’s campaign at

The Royal Free Hospital has been fighting the coronavirus since the first cases in the UK were announced as it is a specialist centre for treating infectious diseases.

Now, though every hospital in the country is dealing with the virus, it remains a centre dealing with some of the most heartbreaking cases – over the weekend it was announced 10 people had died from the disease there.

Throughout the pandemic so far, members of the community have supported the trust’s efforts, a community crowdfunding page has raised more than £30,000, and restaurants including Spielburger in Hampstead and Maido Sushi have provided meals to staff.

An appeal for car parking spaces was also a huge success.

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