1529. Janneke Diemel
1530. Niall Barrett
Janneke Diemel and Niall Barrett, from London, launched ‘Critical NHS’ to provide small treats to boost the morale of those working on NHS wards, which has now seen over 115,000 meals donated to frontline workers.
Janneke and Niall launched the initiative at the start of lockdown in March 2020 following a personal appeal from a friend based at St George’s Hospital, London, for biscuits and treats to give nurses on the wards a pick-up. The charity donated upwards of 1,500 meals a day to NHS frontline workers in 15 hospitals in London, Surrey and Cornwall during the first lock-down, as well as supplying mobile phones and care packages to staff. The charity has also raised over £240,000, and works with a wide network of local suppliers, restaurants and caterers to source food donations whilst supporting their businesses.
In a personal letter to Janneke and Niall, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Our whole nation is immeasurably proud of our NHS and everyone who works within it and so I would like to thank you for all that you are doing for them.
“Alongside your team of volunteers – Anton, Rory and Mel – it is fantastic that you deliver over a thousand meals a day. Whether it is a cooked meal, or a care package full of treats, this is a wonderful way of saying thank you to our NHS workers.”
Janneke and Niall said:
“It’s been truly inspiring to see how a community can come together and work to help those in need – from the amazing doctors and nurses in our local hospitals looking after our loved ones, to the countless volunteers giving their time to help those most vulnerable in society.
“Only this weekend we went to see the amazing work that ‘Tooting Community Kitchen’ are doing – who pointed out that 7 out of 10 people visiting their soup kitchens have never done so before. A rather daunting realisation that times are tough, and I expect that they are going to get tougher – one person collapsed in the line whilst waiting for food – and 15 minutes later, an ambulance arrived and whisked them off to hospital. From the community to the NHS full circle. Together we can heal and become stronger.
“We plan to continue raising funds over the winter months to support both our frontline NHS staff and those most vulnerable.”