CHSA (COVID-19 Healthcare Support Appeal) is a time-limited charity set up in June to support health and care staff across the UK who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Our work is enabled through a generous donation of £5 million from the global video sharing company TikTok.

CHSA is helping the whole spectrum of health and social care workers, from doctors and nurses to hospital porters, administrative staff, ambulance and care home staff, health care assistants, housekeepers and community workers. This broad approach means that we are building a comprehensive picture of current and emerging needs as the pandemic rages on.

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Lord Adebowale says “CHSA has already distributed £2.36 million in 4 months and this has made a significant and positive impact to individuals, who because of the work they do, are putting the health and livelihoods of themselves and their families at risk. We’re especially focused on those who have been most badly affected including those on low pay and from the most impacted ethnicities.”

A particularly hard-hit group are those who work in adult social care. A July report from The Health Foundation* found that they are among the occupational groups at highest risk of COVID-19 mortality, with care home workers and home carers accounting for 76% of deaths within this group during the first wave of the pandemic.

The Care Workers Charity (CWC) is one of the organisations funded by CHSA. Karolina Gerlich, CEO of CWC says “We have been inundated with requests for support from those working on the frontline in care homes and in domiciliary care. Most are low paid and often on zero hours contracts so when they have to self-isolate or become ill with the virus, they quickly find themselves in dire financial circumstances.

Each of the 2,300 care workers helped to date has their own story. For the two weeks that I had to isolate, I was only entitled to Statutory Sick Pay of £95 a week, which barely covered rent, never mind anything else. With your help, I can actually now go food shopping and not have to rely on food banks.”

These difficulties are repeated across other areas of the Health and Care Sector. Two other organisations supported by CHSA are the RCN Foundation who help those in the nursing and midwifery community and TASC (The Ambulance Staff Charity) who support ambulance workers.

RCN Foundation has made grants through CHSA to more than 1,500 workers and TASC is not only helping with financial hardship grants but also supporting people with mental health issues which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Deepa Korea, RCN Foundation Director says “The stories that we are hearing from individuals are heart-breaking. So many in the nursing and midwifery profession are dealing with loss of income caused by a change in work available to them., Many have had to take on work that they have not been trained to do and are also dealing with the consequences of multiple deaths and very ill people not being able to see their loved ones, as well as having to cope with the pressures of their own family life. As winter approaches and the numbers rise again, it’s a deeply worrying time for this amazingly dedicated workforce.”

Karl Demian, CEO of TASC says; “It’s an unprecedented time for the ambulance community and their families and I continue to be humbled by their hard work, dedication, and the sacrifices they have made during this difficult time.The grant from CHSA means we are here to care and support those who care for us.”

Ends

Notes for Editors

  1. CHSA (COVID-19 Healthcare Support Appeal) @chsa_org rcnfoundation.rcn.org.uk/support-appeal-home
    For photographs and interview enquiries please contact Susan chsa-admin@rcn.org.uk
  2. Care Workers Charity (CWC) @CareWorkersFundthecareworkers charity.org.uk 
  3. RNCF @RCNFoundation www.RCNFoundation.org.uk 
  4. TASC (The Ambulance Staff Charity) @TASCharity theasc.org.uk
  5. * (https://www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/public-perceptions-of-health-and-social-care-in-light-of-covid-19-july-2020)