SANCTUARY hubs and relaxation areas are just some of the benefits brought to Warrington Hospital following a Covid fundraising appeal that was set up four years ago.

The NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal was launched the day the country went into lockdown on March 23, 2020.

Since then, it has funded thousands of projects, as well as supporting urgent needs, community prevention, and the longer-term recovery of the NHS.

In Warrington and Halton, NHS Charities Together awarded £166,500 to WHH Charity to enhance the wellbeing of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by Covid.

The funding enabled a variety of projects of which introduced new and enhanced existing staff health and wellbeing support systems within the trust.

Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WHH) now has more than 4,500 staff who have access to spa style sanctuary hubs and relaxation areas across both sites, of which offer counselling, complimentary therapies and drop-in sessions all adapted to the needs of each individual.

Steve McGuirk, WHH and WHH charity chairman, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who donated to NHS Charities Together’s Covid Appeal.

“Thanks to the funding, we have been able to provide staff sanctuary hubs, external relaxation areas, clinical education training suite as well as supporting communities who were disproportionately impacted by Covid particular patients and staff from racially minoritised communities, all of which has helped develop a team of mental health first aiders, increased bereavement support, and improving mental health and wellbeing facilities to all our staff and patients.”

Ellie Orton OBE, chief executive at NHS Charities Together, said: “We will never forget that unique moment in 2020 when the nation got behind the NHS when it faced one of its biggest challenges.

“We were delighted to work with NHS charities to ensure support got to where it was needed most. Thank you to everyone who donated - your support has made a real and meaningful difference to NHS staff, patients and volunteers, supporting thousands of incredible projects that helped staff, volunteers and patients. Your support is still having an impact today.

“But our latest research shows that, far from being over, the challenges facing healthcare remain high. Together with our network of 230 NHS charities we provide services and support to help the NHS go further. Our support for NHS staff who keep our healthcare service running, and the patients and communities who depend on us, has never been more needed.”

In total NHS Charities Together’s Covid Urgent Appeal raised £162 million with thousands of people in the UK getting behind the NHS to fundraise during lockdown, including through the charity’s ‘One Million Claps’ campaign.