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  • Writer's pictureNHS-SOS

The kind and caring community I am proud to call my friends

It isn't every day you can say that you came up with something so vast and far reaching that it changed your life. But on this occasion that is exactly what happened to me.

On the 24th March, I launched something that would change my life for a long time to come. After launching the Facebook public group was a resource for front line workers, within only 3 days the group had become so large that I needed to launch another group to connect the much needed dots together. On the 27th march, NHS SOS – Save our Staff was created as a private group for healthcare professionals to given them a point of contact to obtain access to (and be kept up to date on) the latest legislation guidelines, discounts for staff, peer supporting and, moreover and relevant to the need at the time, to deal with specific requests for PPE shortqges. While the NHS SOS – Save our Staff Public Group became the sister backbone group to provide the private group with whatever was needed and, in most cases, we sourced and supplied PPE within a few days. Both groups grew rapidly, and in just a few weeks they went from something non-existent to well over 1,000 members! But because I was quickly becoming swamped with the activity within both groups I needed to reach out to a couple of members who had showed both loyalty and dedication to our cause to help. And so I was delighted when my offer was accepted for them to become my trusted moderators! And I must say at this point how much I applaud the continuous hard work, energy and commitment that both Claire Marshall and Sarah Garred bring to the group as they work alongside me, behind the scenes. And I have to say that the public group wouldn’t have the success we have today if it wasn't for them and the many volunteer staff who help us man the whole operation. From moderators to motorists, transporters to manufacturers and creators of craft supplies, they are all vital to the life blood of NHS-SOS. Save Our Staff and I thank them with all of my heart. In the day that followed the launch, the smooth organisation of supply and the delivery of PPE, often taking many different routes to get the required item to its destination, slowly became a completely new and different skill for me, which I realised to be a logistics role, and often lead me to work over 18 hour days (which would have been a lot more without Claire and Sarah’s help). Hence why I continually feel incredibly proud of all of the efforts and often refer to our groups as a kind and caring community, which is exactly what it is, highlighted especially when efforts of supplied items are donated from members without quibble or cost. Even coming from their own pocket with their delivering items through the postal service, paying the postage costs themselves even though their families were hard-pressed enough. As our groups grew, so did the interest within the media, with TV and radio enquiries coming in thick and fast, as well as nursing agencies supporting our cause by way of publicising our good work on their websites, their social media pages and in their newsletters. In only days, we all built a lot of recognition with various other departments, including the Department of Education and health journals and related industry organisations. As our goal became more focussed it organically attracted a much wider audience within all areas of the media so we could deliver our message to everyone. To help all front line workers suffering the fallout from pandemic plight and to offer better support to nurses and carers that would lead to patron the rebuilding of the NHS once the pandemic was over. But even though I was caught short, thousands of miles away from home, I came to understand more than ever with humbling realisation, that with the comments I received in contrast to the adversity I had already encountered in my life, including my own serious health issues, that I too had the support of people I call my friends.

Our own front line workers. And although those who know me know I am quite determined and am strong-willed, it was my kind and compassionate desire that hope would shine through with a sentiment that even if I could only touch one person reading this, in some positive way, and lift them, that I will have achieved something for someone. And that something, no matter who we do it for, can be the greatest gift of all if you can give it sacrificially, with passion, kindness and commitment. Big love to you all. Stay safe. Stay well, Sian Francis RN NHS SOS – Save our Staff

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