Covid-19 Urgent Appeal Q&As

1. What is the Covid-19 Urgent Appeal? 

The Covid-19 Urgent Appeal was launched by NHS Charities Together to acknowledge and support NHS staff, volunteers and volunteers impacted by Covid-19 across the country. The campaign was put together in liaison with health bodies, NHS Charities Together member charities and national giving platforms. 

The money raised is funding grants to help NHS charities support NHS staff, volunteers and patients in ways above and beyond what NHS funding can ordinarily provide, including wellbeing packs and costs associated with travel, parking, accommodation and volunteer expenses. 

2. How is the money you have raised going to be spent? 

Seeing the profound impact the Covid crisis was having on our health service, we worked quickly with our member charities, health bodies and other national organisations to launch an appeal to acknowledge and support NHS staff, volunteers and patients. 

The response has been overwhelming and the first grants have been given out to NHS charities and used to meet the immediate and urgent needs of patients, staff and volunteers – providing somewhere comfortable so staff and volunteers can take a break, access to nutritious food and drink, use of electronic-tablets so patients, staff and volunteers can stay in contact with loved ones, and counselling support to protect mental health and help staff and volunteers process what they are dealing with. 

Some of the funding is also going towards helping partnerships outside hospitals, such as hospices, community healthcare and social care, making sure patients leaving hospital have access to the care they need to recover.   

In the longer term it will also fund programmes to help staff and volunteers recover fully once the crisis has abated, reducing the long-term impact on them and the people they care about. 

3. What is NHS Charities Together? 

NHS Charities Together is the umbrella organisation for the country’s NHS charities and is the official national charity partner of the NHS with more than 200 NHS Charity members. NHS charities are the legal way the NHS receives, holds and spends charitable funds and are dedicated to supporting the NHS. They exist for the benefit of current and future NHS patients. NHS Charities Together is the national membership organisation that individual charities belong to. 

NHS Charities Together supports and champions its members and is the ‘trading name’ or ‘known as name’ of the Association of NHS Charities. Founded in 2000, the Association began as an informal group of the largest NHS Charities which came together to provide mutual support. In 2008 in the Association become a registered charity and invited all NHS Charities to share the benefits of membership. We became an incorporate charity in 2019. 

4. What do NHS Charities do? 

NHS Charities give over £1 million every day for the NHS so that people can stay well for longer and get better faster. Most of them focus on helping our health services to do more. From supporting research and development, to brightening up hospital environments, to donating state-of-the-art technologies and equipment, the charities raise funds and mobilise volunteers, touching lives and making a huge difference to millions of people when they are at their most vulnerable. Other NHS charities support mental health trusts, community health trusts and ambulance trusts.  

NHS Charities have a legal or formal agreement with their NHS Trust and therefore have a particular focus whereby they specifically fund activity that supports NHS patients directly. They might work with a particular hospital or NHS trust – either way you know your donations are going to help the NHS patients. 

5. How will funds raised by the Covid-19 Urgent Appeal be distributed among member NHS Charities? 

NHS Charities are the legal way in which each NHS Trust or Health Board can raise, manage and distribute charitable funds. Grant awards will be made to NHS Charities to enable them to provide direct financial support into their NHS Trust/Health Board Hospitals and services. Grants are being disbursed through distributions to NHS Charities in the following ways: 

  • COVID-19 Urgent response grants 
  • Social Care Partnership Grants 
  • Recovery Grants 

An initial substantial grant has been made equally to each NHS Charity.  Subsequent grants will be made to NHS Charities based on the number of NHS employees (head count) within each corresponding Trust/ Health Board.  This means that the grant amounts are distributed in a fair and equitable way across larger and smaller Trusts/Health Boards. 

6. How long should it take for charities to receive funds raised? 

Fundraising pledges made through online donation platforms (Virgin Money Giving, Just Giving etc) can take up to a week or more to appear as cleared funds for the appeal.  These donations are then brought across to NHS Charities Together COVID-19 appeal bank account.  Grants are then authorised regularly, which triggers a payment of grant funds into each NHS member charity bank account.  This deposit transfer takes 2 working days. The NHS charity is then able to use these funds to best support their Trust’s/Health Board’s response to COVID-19. 

7. Are these charities just propping up the NHS? 

No, but they do help the NHS do much more than they otherwise could. People have been giving money to health services since well before the NHS was created. They help the health service provide treatments and services they would not otherwise be able to fund. These help improve the wellbeing of patients and save lives. They also support NHS staff and volunteers. 

8. Shouldn’t these funds be used to equip NHS staff and volunteers with the medical equipment they need to do their job, such as ventilators and PPE? 

The money raised through the appeal is currently focused on funding grants to help NHS charities support the health and emotional wellbeing of NHS staff, volunteer and patients in ways above and beyond that which NHS funding can usually provide. Elements such as PPE or ventilators are part of the core operation of the NHS and are ordinarily funded by government.  

Each NHS charity is there to support their NHS trust or health board and to respond to what they and their staff, volunteers and patients need on an ongoing basis. As this crisis develops, there is no doubt those needs will change and NHS charities will continue to respond to that and try to meet those needs. Currently, the focus of our member charities is on the immediate and long term needs of staff, volunteers and patients outside of core care and treatment, including setting up comfortable places where they can take a much-needed rest, giving them nutritious meals and drinks, offering mental health support, and helping staff and the patients themselves to stay in touch with their loved ones. 

9. how much of the money raised gets to the people on the ground? 

NHS Charities Together is a small charity with a permanent team of four people. Our focus for the appeal is on raising funds and getting them to our member charities as effectively and efficiently as possible, so they can then be used to support NHS trusts, their staff, volunteers and patients. We invest the time and resource we need to help us do that and monitor that investment. You can find out more about the impact NHS charities have here

10. Can I give money directly to the NHS? 

NHS charities are the legal way the NHS receives, holds and spends charitable funds and are dedicated to supporting the NHS. They exist for the benefit of current and future NHS patients. 

So, the most effective way to financially support the NHS, its staff, volunteers and patients at the moment is through the NHS charities who already provide that support. You can donate via the appeal or you can give a donation directly to the NHS charity in your local area. 

11. Where can I find your member charities? 

All our members are listed at this link. You can also search for a particular charity name, by name of the hospital, or by region. We are adding new charities every day so if your local NHS charity isn’t there, do check with them to see if they are a member. 

12. Will the money raised go towards helping health services in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as England? 

NHS Charities Together has member charities in Wales and Scotland as well as in England, and funds have already been distributed to members in all three nations.   

We hadn’t previously had relationships with charities in Northern Ireland, but we’re delighted that six organisations have now come on board as members and are in the process of receiving their first grants from the appeal. The organisations are: 

Belfast HSC Trust Charitable Trust Fund 
NI Ambulance Service HSC Trust Charitable Trust Funds 
Northern Health and Social Care Trust 
South Eastern Health and Social Care Charitable Trust 
Southern Health and Social Care Trust Charitable Trust Funds 
Western Health & Social Care Trust 

13. Do you have a logo that we could use when we fundraise for you, and some information on your charity that you can share with us? 

We are pulling together a fundraising pack that will give you everything you need to fundraise in aid of our appeal and will make that available very soon. In the meantime, if you want to use our logo or have a query about fundraising, please send us an email We are getting a huge amount of correspondence so it is taking us a bit of time to go through them all and respond but we will come back to you as soon as we can.