A short time after the lockdown began one Saturday morning, my phone rang… it was Wendy Bartlett, our founder and Executive Chair. It was unusual to hear from Wendy on a weekend.
She told me that a nursing friend working in the ICU of a local hospital had run out of gloves and was there anything we could do to help? I made some calls to the team. Within 10 minutes we had a volunteer, Stuart in his car heading into work to collect our blue gloves to deliver to the hospital. There was no hesitation from Stuart, just a “Yes, no problem, I’ll do it now”.
This got us all thinking about how we might be able to help a bit more. How by pulling together, could we use our skills and facilities we have? Food was the obvious answer! It was time for a Zoom meeting with my #bmFamily💜💚.
We began contacting Hospitals in Reading and London. We asked them how we could help to feed our key workers.
They told us about wellness rooms. These are places where our hardworking NHS staff can rest and recharge between their shifts. Their breaks were being taken at random times. To meet this, we needed to provide food that could be eaten throughout the day. We decided on a Refuel bag with sweet (why not?!) and savoury baked items, some fruit and most importantly a thank you note. Our managers, chefs, porters and FOH team all wanted to be involved. Everyone volunteered to do whatever they could, to make this happen. I also reached out to our client, who also fully supported the project.
Team Reading and team London set to work. We adjusted to our new social distancing ways of working. We baked polenta cake, cheese and pumpkin seed muffins, brownies, flapjacks, pumpkin seed Bakewell’s (even with no nuts they taste delicious). We bagged, labelled, heart-stickered and added the all-important hand-made thank you note. We then put them into our cars and delivered them to The Royal Berkshire, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and St Mary’s Hospitals. We were met with happy, if slightly surprised faces. As the weeks have gone by, we are still met with gratitude and a ready smile. And there is always an excited face who can’t wait to see what’s in the bags this week!
We have now baked and delivered over 20,000 food items to NHS wellness rooms! It’s been inspiring to work with my #bmFamily💜💚 team who embody our value ‘Support you can trust’. And I feel proud and thankful to work in a team who are always happy to go the extra mile.
Group General Manager