Plea for food and vital supplies to thank Harrogate's heroic hospital teams and key workers

A major movement to donate food and vital supplies to Harrogate's heroic hospital staff and key workers has been launched by residents who are desperate to give back and say a heartfelt thank you.

Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 10:33 am

Just days since it was set up, the Supplies for Key Workers in and around Harrogate Facebook group is already attracting amazing support from residents and businesses in the town, with pizzas and fresh pasta dishes from the likes of Vivido Italian restaurant having already being delivered straight to the doors of Harrogate hospital.

The group is about supporting all Harrogate hospital staff - from the frontline surgeons, A&E teams, doctors and nurses, to ambulance teams, cleaners, porters, and front of house teams who all play a critical and much-valued role in keeping the public safe.

The Facebook group is also there to help care workers, community nurses, and any other key workers in Harrogate who make such a huge difference to people's lives - especially at difficult and unprecedented times like this.

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Delighted to receive donations from Vivido: Harrogate hospital staff.

Julie Mills, who runs Julie Scrumptious cakes and bakes on Devonshire Place, was moved to launch the appeal with friend Fiona Ryan when she saw heartbreaking stories emerging of healthcare workers finding supermarket shelves stripped bare at the end of long and difficult shifts. She is particularly keen to hear from any greengrocers, butchers, and any other businesses that focus on providing fresh produce.

Julie said it's critical now more than ever to show our gratitude to Harrogate hospital's teams and key workers across our district. Just one kind gesture could mean everything.

She said: "None of us know what is going to happen, we can only go with what has happened or is happening day by day, so they've got that anxiety of dealing with what's going on now, plus dealing with everything else, all the other ailments and illnesses that are coming through their door. To do that and then be unable to get supplies from a supermarket to feed their family must be awful.

"The hospital staff are absolutely selfless - they just do it and get on with it, they don't even see themselves as anything great, they just think they're doing their job. We need to support them and thank them, and show we care.

"They need us as much as we need them - they are going to be there for us no matter what they are going through, no matter what their own families are going through, so don't take them for granted, let them know we are here, that we are grateful for everything they do. We need to support them, boost their morale, and get them through their shifts.

"We've got to help each other through this. They're going to be dealing with everyone and everything that comes through that door, and to try and do that without being able to get all the food they need at supermarkets, is just awful. We need to look after them to look after us."

Julie said even just a packet of biscuits or a cake could go a long way in lifting spirits, having already seen for herself firsthand just how moved hospital teams have been by food deliveries.

She said: "They get to see a lot of the hard side, the difficult things to deal with, so for them to know people are there for them, that they care and really want to help, can mean so much.

"Sometimes thank you just doesn't seem enough - two little words, but to them, to look at them in the eye and say thank you, just keeps them going."

Julie and other professional bakers are stepping up to make fresh homemade goods to bring smiles to key workers' faces, and she would love to see as many residents as possible showing their support.

Ella Dean, 20, whose mum is a care worker, is among the group of kind-hearted Harrogate residents who has already donated food to the appeal. She simply had a rummage through her cupboards and gathered up items she no longer needed, and bought some additional food from a shop.

She said: "I know how hard the doctors work, they work tirelessly with long hours, and they do a great job, so I thought I might as well give back and try and do as much as I can.

"They are putting their own lives at risk in a sense, as they are actually at the front of fighting against this virus. They have got family at home, they've probably got kids, probably got someone with a bad immune system, and they're actually putting other people first which I think is amazing - we are honestly so lucky to have the NHS.

"They're doing all they can to help us, so we need to support them in all that they're doing. A little bit of kindness can go so far. "

How you can donate to Harrogate hospital

Statement from Sammy Lambert, Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity Manager: "While the Trust is extremely grateful for all the kind donations it is receiving from the community and individuals, we must stress the importance of following the donation procedure to allow us to properly co-ordinate where donations are sent.

"All donations, from individuals and businesses, must be directed to the Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity Fundraising Team, who will coordinate their distribution to acute and community locations, and ensure proper thanks can be given.

"This will allow us to be sure the donations are given to areas most in need at the given time across the hospital and wider community. It is also important in controlling the spread of infection as we can monitor who is coming into the Trust and what is being distributed.

"The HHCC Team can be contacted on 01423 557408 or [email protected] Please do not donate direct to wards, acute locations, departments, etc. If you or anyone you know wishes to make a donation to any part of the Trust please get in touch using the above details.

"Our charity team will work with donators to ensure our staff benefit from your kind donations."