Watford businesses again supporting NHS staff during lockdown

Watford businesses again supporting NHS staff during lockdown

Businesses are once again pulling together to support the staff of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust during the latest national lockdown.

Much like the first lockdown last year, Watford FC is the base for an effort that is being driven by Watford Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber and its connections are supplying sandwiches, drinks, snacks and a place of respite for the hospital staff at the Watford Hospital site. The volunteers are working tirelessly to support this operation.

'Operation Sarnie' is composed of the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Conscience, Watford Football Club, F3 (Watford FC Hospitality and Events), Aramark, Tesco, Costco, The Gate Group, The Grove Hotel, Asvina UK Ltd, Warner Bros., Eagle Cars, Barnett’s Coaches, Wenzel’s Bakery, Clock Limited and nation-wide charity SEWA Day.

Chief executive of the Chamber Chris Luff said: "When we heard that the trust was facing challenges about providing a safe space for its staff to eat and relax, it was a no brainer. I'm not surprised by the immediate take up of people helping. In my mind, this is what a Chamber should do; bring people together to make great things happen.

"Everyone from big companies to our Chamber of Conscience, including our young apprentices, are helping the community across the board. This is what Watford town needs."

SEWA Day, which is heavily involved in providing volunteers and resources, is "a universal concept which involves performing an act of kindness without expectation of reward". It joined forces with the Chamber in December to help NHS staff.

Dina Bhudia, the lead coordinator of SEWA Day for Herts, said: "The whole journey has been phenomenal. From food donations, prescription deliveries, neighbour support, to volunteering; the people in our community are the heroes."

This pandemic has brought the best out of many neighbourhoods, and Watford is no exception. It is inspirational to see what the Chamber and our community can do in this time of need.

"We're delighted to be able to once again offer our facilities and resource, as part of a wider team supporting the NHS and its people," said Watford FC's head of facilities Ian Pope.

"Community values are very important to all the club's staff, most of whom live locally and are very happy to be part of a united effort in helping our wonderful next-door neighbours."

He added: "The driving force of the Chamber has been admirable. It’s fantastic to see everyone pull together”.

Andrew McMenemy, deputy director of Human Resources at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, stressed how significant the efforts have been for staff.

He said: "The support from the Chamber has been extraordinary. Struggling businesses are still pulling everything they can together to help NHS staff. The football club continue to open their doors, and the impact on staff has been overwhelming. Everyone is very grateful for the support."

Andrew's colleague, Fiona Wardil, said: "We're all in awe of Chris and his team at the Chamber. The fact that the donations are still coming in is amazing. We’re forever grateful, it really does mean the world to us."

How long will Operation Sarnie be running for? According to Chris Luff: "As long as there are donations, we will keep going".

Orignally published in the Watford Observer: https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/19010691.watford-businesses-supporting-nhs-staff-lockdown/

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