An initiative which will see pop-up supermarkets erected at hospital sites to ensure NHS staff have access to food essentials during the coronavirus pandemic has launched at Lister in Stevenage.
Jason Mawer felt compelled to act after watching footage of exhausted critical care nurse Dawn Bilbrough in tears at a supermarket as she urged people to stop panic buying after she was left unable to buy even basic food items after a 48-hour shift.
The Help NHS Heroes campaign has launched at Lister, with a marquee erected in the estates and facilities car park acting as a temporary supermarket for the hospital’s staff. It has even been decorated with colourful pictures and messages from children who are currently patients at Lister.
The aim is to create similar pop-up supermarkets at hospital sites across the country, where NHS workers will gain access to vital food and household essentials by showing their ID badges.
Julie Foster, who is volunteering at the Lister pop-up supermarket, said: “We want to get the word out there to anyone who works at Lister Hospital that there are lots of goodies here to share. We even have toilet rolls and pasta! Tell everybody.
“There are tray and trays of food that’s been donated. We had a nurse who came in earlier who hadn’t had rice for four weeks. She was nearly crying when we were able to give her a packet of rice.
“There’s milk, bread, boxes of vegetables, and two fridge units outside which are full of sandwiches, so staff have been coming in for things for their lunches. They don’t have time to go to the supermarket and, when they do get there, there is nothing for them.”
Lister staff will now be able to place an order at the pop-up supermarket and arrange collection to coincide with the end of their shift.
Julie said: “What we need is for the staff at Lister to know we are here and to benefit from all the lovely food that’s been donated.
“We want to help, but people need to get the news that we are here.
“We are open 8am to 8pm to give staff plenty of time to get their food parcels. Spread the word.”
The Lister pop-up is in the estates and facilities car park, near the endoscopy building.