HAMPSHIRE NHS workers and individuals, who have shown unwavering commitment during the coronavirus pandemic, are being awarded with a new accolade.

Solent NHS Trust has created heart badges as a token of thanks and recognition to colleagues and people from the community for their help and support during the pandemic.

The Trust is offering the badges to its colleagues in hope that they can wear it with pride.

The memento of these challenging times will also give them the chance to nominate people in their community for supporting them.

Nominations could be for teachers, postmen, a local shop worker or someone who has given up their time to work voluntarily.

Bethann Hogbin, a Community Children’s Nurse at Solent NHS Trust based in Southampton, nominated her son’s Year R school teacher Miss Ramsdale from Rownhams St John’s Primary School.

Bethann said: “My son’s teacher, and the school in general, made efforts to go above and beyond during the most difficult of times.

"During lockdown, my son received virtual lesson plans, zoom calls, and videos of the teacher reading stories and doing phonics sessions.

"This maintained some sort of normality, routine and connection.

"This was so important for his mental wellbeing as well as ours whilst trying to navigate stressful working, working from home and home learning.”

Bethann's four-year-old son, Rory, has been concerned about returning to school, but Miss Ramsdale was able to help him settle back in.

She said: “Once children in Year R were able to go back to school, after weeks of being safe in his bubble at home, my son was extremely anxious, particularly about things being ‘different’.

"His teacher has managed to ensure school remains fun and as normal as possible whilst we feel happy he is safe and secure.”

The badges have been designed with a rainbow pride of place - a symbol that has become synonymous with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sue Harriman, Chief Executive of Solent NHS Trust, said: “We wanted to offer these badges to our colleagues to say a huge thank you and to recognise the important contributions they have made during this period."