The England men’s football team and some of the nation’s most well-known celebrities are raising a ‘Big Mug of Thanks’ in gratitude for everything NHS staff have done over the pandemic and urging everyone to take part in NHS Charities Together’s NHS Big Tea on Monday 5th July, the birthday of the NHS. The event will be a national outpouring of thanks for NHS staff while raising money for the incredible people in the NHS who have been there for the nation over the last year.

Their show of support comes as NHS Charities Together releases new research* on the level of public gratitude to NHS staff. Three quarters (75%) of the public feel grateful to the NHS for what it has done during the pandemic and 67% are proud of how frontline workers have coped with the pandemic so far. The same research also shows that support for NHS staff is more important than ever, with more than half reporting a mental health toll as a result of the pandemic, and all staff now facing busy clinics while continuing to care for sick patients.

Ahead of tonight’s match, England men’s football team expressed their support, including Jordan Henderson MBE, Jordan Pickford, Tyrone Mings and Reece James.

Jordan Henderson MBE (pictured above), who was appointed an Official NHS Charities Together Champion in January following his creation of the #PlayersTogether initiative, said:

Wales women’s football team’s Helen Ward

“After the last 16 months, this nation owes so much to the NHS and the least we can do this July is encourage everybody to express their collective gratitude for that selfless support. We know as footballers we are often the ones being looked up to, but this is about the real heroes so from all of us associated with the England football teams, we raise our mugs for the NHS Big Tea with a simple message – thank you.”

In a video message of support, Wales women’s football team’s Helen Ward said:

“This last year has been incredibly hard for everyone. But for the NHS and everyone in it, they’ve stood up and been counted, and for that, we’re extremely grateful. Thank you, NHS.”

Doctor and TV presenter Dr Hilary Jones said:

“I’ve seen first-hand the impact this pandemic has had and continues to have on staff and volunteers across the NHS. I’ve been blown away from the commitment and care so many of them have demonstrated throughout it all. That’s why I’m urging everyone to get involved in a national outpouring of thanks by taking part in the NHS Big Tea and helping raise vital funds to support those amazing people.”

Former doctor and author of “This is Going to Hurt” Adam Kay who has raised over £250,000 for NHS Charities Together with his book “Dear NHS” said:

Reece James

“I’m raising a mug to Keir Shiels, a consultant paediatrician at Great Ormond Street hospital, who has spent every moment when he’s not working at the hospital vaccinating thousands upon thousands of people. Medicine is famously a job without a huge amount of spare time, but he has given up every spare weekend for months doing the vital job of getting us filled up with Pfizer. Cheers, Keir!”

Furthermore, 57% of Brits surveyed have stated that it’s important to have opportunities to get together with others in their local community. Everyone can take part in the NHS Big Tea by raising a mug or holding their own virtual or physical tea party (following the latest social distancing guidance) at 3pm on that day or at any time that suits them on or around that date.

Funds raised will increase the practical and emotional support available to NHS staff, patients and volunteers as they continue to battle the Covid crisis and start down the long road to recovery.  

Speaking about the vast support received so far, Ellie Orton OBE, CEO of NHS Charities Together said:

“It’s wonderful to see the England men’s football team and so many high-profile names come together and show their thanks for their personal NHS heroes. This is what the NHS Big Tea is all about – showing love and support for those who have been there for us during such a challenging time – and we are asking everyone to join in and share their ‘Big Mug of Thanks’. NHS staff have continuously gone above and beyond, and they still need us more than ever so it’s important we all unite to show our gratitude.

All proceeds from the NHS Big Tea will go towards giving staff and patients the additional support they need as they continue to tackle the pandemic and then enter a long period of recovery. “I’m raising my mug to the wonderful ambulance crew at West Midlands Ambulance Service and the staff team at Warwick Hospital who gave such excellent care to my poorly mum only last week. Thank you for everything.

Tyrone Mings

Headline sponsors Morrisons are supporting the day. David Potts, Morrisons Chief Executive, said: 

“As we move forward with hope for a brighter future, we’re very proud to continue our support for all those in the NHS – who have shown care and resilience in the toughest of times. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve done our best to be there for the NHS.

From early shopping hours to ensure doctors and nurses had the food they needed to discounts on groceries to show our thanks.  And now we’re delighted to be supporting the NHS Big Tea and raising our Big Mug of Thanks. We’re fully behind this important day and look forward to a cup of tea and a moment of reflection on the 5th July.”

Supporting the NHS

Jordan Pickford

NHS Charities Together has so far allocated £125 million in a range of projects supporting staff, patients and volunteers.

Through its 240 NHS member charities covering the UK, projects include counselling services and helplines to help support the mental health of staff, bereavement support for families who have lost loved ones, long-Covid research, and funding thousands of emergency volunteers. Funding has also supported staff with practical needs like food, drink and a place to rest, enabling staff to continue with their vital life-saving work.

The evidence shows these projects are already making a huge difference for frontline staff, with over three in ten NHS staff surveyed** saying they most value the counselling support and support with practical needs, like food and drink, that have been provided by NHS charities.