Student launches ‘Letters for the NHS’ project which helps people personally thank frontline heroes

The initiative which allows the public to thank NHS workers with a personal letter has had over 800 volunteers sign up.

When Clap for Carers was a daily fixture on Thursday evenings, streets across the country felt an immense amount of pride in being able to show just how much the NHS staff on the frontline meant to them.

However, for one Warwick University student, two minutes a week simply “wasn’t enough”.

After noticing the volume of people that wanted to help out during the pandemic and the love exhibited across the country for the NHS, the idea for Letters for the NHS was born.

Soumya Krishna Kumar, 19, officially launched the project at the end of April as a way for everyone, including those who were shielding, to help show appreciation to individual key workers across the country.

It works by volunteers signing up to write a letter to a nominated key worker, who they’ll receive some information about. Once written, that letter is then sent to Soumya either by email or post and then, once written up, she then sends it on to the key worker.

Originally expecting enough volunteers to send 10 to 20 letters to NHS staff, she said the support suddenly “exploded”.

“I would have been happy with 50 volunteers, I thought it would just be my friends and family doing it and maybe people in my local area,” she told Oh My Goodness.

The project has since seen over 800 people sign up and 350 letters delivered to frontline heroes.

Soumya (pictured) did not expect the project to become as popular as it has. (The Crisis Project/Letters for the NHS)

From London to the Midlands, letters have been sent to staff in most parts of the UK, but Soumya thinks its particularly special because of how personalised each letter is.

“I think the reason key workers particularly like the scheme so much is that the letters are really personalised so when a key worker is nominated we ask for as many details as possible, for example whether they have children or not and when the volunteer writes about that kind of stuff in a letter it just makes the key worker feel really appreciated on a personal level,” she said.

Up until last week, the first year maths student was running all the admin work, reaching out to NHS Trusts, managing the social media accounts and talking to press all by herself, but her “love” for the project has made it worth it.

“Some of the key workers get in touch to say they were having a rough day at work and it was really lovely to come back to a letter,” she said.

Each letter that gets sent to a key worker has its own personal touch. (The Crisis Project/Letters for the NHS)

Another brilliant part of the project is that nurses and doctors who receive a letter do not always know who nominated them.

One recipient said: “Thank you so much Susan and The Crisis Project… I have no idea who nominated me and this was a totally unexpected surprise but it has made my day!”

Key workers have been very thankful for their letters (@crisisprojectuk)

Soumya is determined to ensure that this is “not just a pandemic project” and that the remarkable kindness exhibited from the Crisis Project does not stop there.

She has plans to continue to spread love and appreciation across the country to care homes and specifically to Coventry, where she has a particular affiliation with her university, an area she says has a high population of refugees.

“We’re looking to launch a second project in the next couple of weeks where we’re gonna target care homes because there’s a lot of loneliness in care homes right now so I think it’d be fantastic if we could get our massive bank of volunteers to write to residents of care homes.

“I also read somewhere recently that Coventry has [something like] the highest proportion of refugees in the UK, so I would love to make an impact in that community over there.”

Despite an incredible amount of volunteers, Soumya said the project is missing one thing – nominated key workers.

She added: “Our main problem at the moment is that we have so many volunteers, but not enough key workers to write to. As soon as a volunteer signs up they get put on our little waiting list to write. If more people could get in touch and nominate a key worker that would be fantastic.”

If you would like to learn more about the incredible project, or maybe even get involved, you can visit The Crisis Project’s website.

To follow their amazing progress and for more behind the scenes work, check out on their Instagram.

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