Royal Bank of Scotland backs Rainbow Boxes Foundation to provide all Lothian COVID-19 patients with support when entering hospital

Royal Bank of Scotland backs Rainbow Boxes Foundation to provide all Lothian COVID-19 patients with support when entering hospital

Royal Bank is donating money from its 300 Fund to provide enough Rainbow Boxes for all Coronavirus patients across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

hospital staff with rainbow boxes

The bank, through its 300 Fund, will cover the cost of Rainbow Boxes for all COVID-19 patients entering hospitals, providing all patients with toiletries, nightwear and phone chargers.

The Rainbow Box Foundation is a charity based on an initiative driven by frontline nurse Alison Williams who saw that many emergency Coronavirus patients were arriving in hospital with no overnight bags or means to communicate with their friends or families.

Initially, the public were being asked to donate items but following lockdown and Government advice to encourage the public to only make essential journeys, the Foundation asked for funds to help the NHS safely and hygienically source items from retailers directly and at cost.

Royal Bank of Scotland is donating £25,000 to assist and is working with Royal Bank customer Scotmid provide the necessary food, toiletries and other essentials.

The bank is also working with catering company Baxter Storey and Social Bite to produce 1,500 free meals each day for frontline NHS staff working through the night on COVID-19 Red wards who do not have access to catering facilities. The meals are being prepared at the bank’s Gogarburn Conference Centre which has been temporarily converted into a national foodbank distribution centre.

Commenting, Malcolm Buchanan, chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The tragedy that Coronavirus creates is sadly all too clear but it is often the side effects which can feel as frightening as the condition itself. The Rainbow Box Foundation was born from the experience of those at the frontline helping those affected and as bank which has seen customers, colleagues, friends and family affected, we wanted to help.

“Our 300 Fund was created to help support projects making a difference to people living in Scotland. The Rainbow Box Foundation and the NHS Lothian Covid-19 Appeal reflect those values and are offering help and support at a time when the most vulnerable people in Scotland need it most.”

The 300 Fund was launched in January to mark the bank’s 300th anniversary in 2027 and will see the bank invest money into projects designed to make a positive impact for people working and living across Scotland for the next seven years.

Jane Ferguson, director of the Edinburgh Lothian Health Foundation, said: “The support of the general public and local businesses to NHS Lothian’s COVID-19 response has been incredible to witness. Nurse Alison Williams and her friends have raised thousands of pounds to fund rainbow boxes for Covid-19 patients, supported by Royal Bank of Scotland who have donated an amazing £25,0000 to ensure that these boxes can be distributed for the next 20 weeks.

“As the official charity partner of NHS Lothian, Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation is working closely with staff to understand where the areas of greatest need are, so that we can respond flexibly to an ever-changing situation.

“Thanks to donations received to our Appeal so far, we have been able to supply mobile phones and tablets to wards across Edinburgh and the Lothians which allows patients to contact family and friends whilst visiting is suspended. We have also been supporting staff to get respite areas set up with recliner chairs, TVs, snacks and refreshments so that they have somewhere to go where they can rest, relax and get a bit of much earned downtime.

“Ongoing fundraising for our NHS Lothian Covid-19 Appeal will allow us to continue to support NHS Lothian staff and patients over the longer term, supporting their resilience and creating a lasting legacy for their wellbeing.”

Rainbow boxes takes its name from the movement of children and families displaying rainbows in their windows to spread hope and positivity during the COVID-19 crisis.

Alison Williams is the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary nurse behind the Rainbow Boxes Foundation. Speaking on behalf of the Foundation, she said: "Our initial fundraising through JustGiving was incredible and really helped to get Rainbow Boxes off the ground and much needed items into wards quickly. However, this amazingly generous donation from Royal Bank of Scotland will help us to not only sustain this support for a longer period, but also to widen it to non-COVID-19 wards throughout the Lothian region and potentially further afield."

Karen Scott, head of Semichem which is part of Scotmid, added: “We are delighted to be part of the Rainbow Box initiative that will provide much needed support for hospitals and local communities at this challenging time.

“I am very proud of our dedicated team that are working tirelessly so we can source and provide everyday toiletry essentials to help patients feel as comfortable as possible when they need it most.”

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