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Getting supplies to NHS workers in lockdown

Help NHS Heroes’ mission was to make key workers’ lives easier and safer by providing instant access to groceries and essential supplies.

Setting the scene

Help NHS Heroes is a non-profit campaign which was set up to support NHS workers in response to the COVID-19 crisis - and while stockpiling by supermarket shoppers was making items scarce.

The aim was to make sure that it was made as easy as possible to get key workers in London and the South East the supplies they needed to live healthily and work safely.

The team behind the initiative consisted of volunteers - many of whom were furloughed. We offered to support the campaign so it could be run across multiple hospital sites.

How we helped

We had a team working on site at a hospital in Reading during lockdown and they heard about the first pop-up shop at the Lister Hospital via the CEO. Partner Anna Blackman, who led the engagement, then met the founder of Help NHS Heroes and we agreed we would help them scale the proposition.

We established a number of pop-up supermarkets on hospital sites so that key workers could buy food on their way to/from work. 

One of the ways was to develop an app for workers to be able to order what they need. They could then pick up a box of food from the hospital site to take home and feed their families for the next few days.

Using the wholesale food supply chain, the cost of a box was around 35% cheaper than shopping at a supermarket.

This then morphed in some of the hospitals to become more of a farm shop-like experience, where staff could pick and choose their produce. This required new layouts, new technology and new processes.

We then took the concept and rolled it out in care homes, where using visualisation tool Tableau we could set up hubs to act as distribution sites to support the facilities.

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“With NHS workers doing so much to protect everyone else, we felt the NHS Heroes campaign was one small way we could give something back.

“By bringing together skills we have across the firm, we could help make their lives easier by getting them what they needed when they needed it.

The reception to the shops has been overwhelmingly positive and we are proud to have been involved in the end-to-end process.”

Anna Blackman, Partner

Making a difference

Some of the key achievements of the project:

  • 45,000 items of PPE distributed

  • 7,000 NHS staff registrations on our app

  • 5,188 grocery and gift boxes provided to NHS staff

  • 2,800 NHS staff customers served in five ‘farm shops’

  • 127 public volunteers recruited

  • 40 grocery box home deliveries completed

  • 27 care homes supported across NW London

  • 19 hospitals supported

  • Five farm shops

  • One website created.

Contact us

Annual Report enquiries

Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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