MORE than £350k has been raised as part of a Daily Echo-backed campaign to help support the wellbeing of Southampton NHS staff.

Ever since Southampton Hospitals Charity launched an appeal to support the mental and physical wellbeing of the staff at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) who are facing unprecedented pressure during the coronavirus crisis, donations have been flooding in, with the total now standing at more than £350k.

This money has already funded more than 16,000 items for staff and patients, including free staff meals, radios and iPads to keep in touch with loved ones, and care boxes and one frontline worker at University Hospital Southampton has revealed her experience of life during the pandemic, and how the donations have been "invaluable".

It comes after the Daily Echo joined other newspapers for the #ThereWithYou campaignto support residents and commit to shining a light on unsung heroes in our community.

Elderly Care Consultant, Dr Erica Williams, said: "Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis I have moved through several different departments and during this time I have seen the challenges posed to all staff and have been amazed and encouraged by their resilience, selflessness and hard work.

"Initially the main stresses came from the uncertainty of what was to come. The feeling of impending doom, particularly in light of media coverage from those countries ‘ahead’ of us in the crisis. The stress this caused amongst all staff was palpable. Our staff have been faced with the knowledge that they were (and are) exposing themselves, and by extension, potentially their families to Covid-19.

"Despite these stresses, during this time I have seen staff go above and beyond for their patients and their families. One of the challenges I have found particularly emotionally difficult is the fact that patient’s relatives have not been allowed to visit the hospital to see their relatives, except briefly during the end of life period.

"During this time charitable funding has provided items to several areas of the hospital including radios, coffee machines and boost boxes. These have provided a much needed boost in morale during our lowest times. Charity funding has also provided furnishings for wellbeing areas for staff to go during periods of insurmountable stress. These have been invaluable."

Erica has said that despite moving into a new phase of the crisis, ongoing support is "more valid than ever" as fatigue of workers continue.

So far using the funding, four staff wellbeing rooms have been fully furnished, enhanced bed entertainment is being provided, as well as radios, iPads and cordless phones, almost 7,000 free staff meals have been provided, care packages have been provided to vulnerable patients and specialist psychological support is being offered to staff.

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.