THEY are the unsung heroes who go above and beyond to look after residents in the community.

But now it is time to give something back to them.

Southampton Hospitals Charity has launched a campaign to support NHS staff working around the clock - now more than ever - to look after patients amid the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes as yesterday newspapers across the country published the same front page to support residents and to pledge to shine a light on the heroes in this hour of need. The appeal launched by the hospital charity in Southampton aims to raise money to support the mental health and wellbeing of the frontline NHS staff who are caring for Covid-19 patients.

Charity bosses said the money will be spent to help where the need is greatest as it arises and details of the initiatives that will be funded are yet to be confirmed. But part of the vital cash will go towards staff rehydration stations across the hospitals in the city to provide staff with tea and coffee.

Catherine Jordan, from Southampton Hospitals Charity, said staff members are currently being asked what support they need the most. It comes as the charity said demand for services and frontline staff at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. A target for the fundraising campaign has not been set. But Ms Jordan said: “This is a very difficult situation for all of us. It would be difficult to put a specific target on an appeal like this because there are too many people to help. We know things are going to be difficult for our local community with jobs and work and we don’t want to put a target.”

Ms Jordan stressed that the money raised will be used to support all NHS staff from doctors and nurses to porters and cleaners and will not be spent on items and services that the government has committed to funding. The initiative is to boost morale.

“We need to look after our staff that are normally looking after us. We need to make sure that they are healthy and fit to carry on,” Ms Jordan said. Talking about the #ThereWithYou campaign launched by local newspapers yesterday, she added: “I think with many people possibly in isolation it is important that we keep this channels of communication open. I think that it is going to make a big difference.”Hospital staff said the campaign will make them feel appreciated. In a statement the estates operational team at UHS said: “It’s a great gesture from the public that they want to maintain our health and wellbeing. In these challenging times, being recognised really goes a long way.”

Steve Harris, chief people officer at UHS, added: “The difference this wellbeing initiative will make to our frontline staff during this pandemic is incredibly significant and will go a long way in showing our appreciation. Our staff are parents, sisters and sons themselves and yet in our time of need, they are helping those who are most vulnerable. Please help us to help them.”

To donate visit or text NHSHEROES 3 to 70460 to donate £3; NHSHEROES 5 to 70460 to donate £5; NHSHEROES 10 to 70460 to donate £10.