Last week, Salute the NHS, a not for profit and private sector led campaign serving the NHS frontline during the covid-19 crisis, fulfilled its promise to serve 1 million meal packs to critical medical teams.

Launched three months ago, with the first delivery to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on 6th April, the campaign has now supplied 49 hospitals across the country during lockdown. The million meal packs included 7 million food products and were assembled in Bicester, Oxfordshire by a pool of over 800 dedicated volunteers.

Baker Labels produced and donated around 3 million labels for the project, to affix to a range of products from Easter eggs and cake wrappers to food and care packs.

Food and ingredients were supplied by Tesco and several other leading brands, and their preparation into nutritious meal packs was overseen by hospitality and catering business Absolute Taste. The deliveries were all provided by Yodel, while Domestic & General staffed an information service for NHS workers, hospitals, companies, and the public to either contribute or offer feedback on the effort.

In May, the campaign expanded its practical offer to the NHS with support from Unilever, which is providing free personal care packs featuring products such as Radox, Dove, Simple and Vaseline. Sustainable packager DS Smith donated 75,000 recyclable white boxes for the personal care products.

Salute the NHS was inspired by NHS anaesthetist, Dr Charlotte Hall, who is ex F1 racing boss Ron Dennis’ daughter. The initiative raised over £743,000 through donations, matched in full by DreamChasing, the Dennis Family Foundation, which also covered all additional running costs. The campaign is endorsed by NHS Charities Together and it wanted to support critical NHS workers fighting covid-19 – such as A&E and ICU teams – with their basic daily needs, enabling them to focus on saving lives during the crisis.  

Following the production of free social distancing floor stickers for local businesses and the donation of protective face masks to nearby NHS facilities, Baker Labels’ contribution to the Salute the NHS is just another example of Steve Baker’s commitment to supporting the community and doing the right thing.

When I was contacted by Ron Dennis and heard about the campaign I didn’t hesitate. We are in a position to be able to manufacture the number of labels required and to be flexible on quantities, variations and demand. With the added support from our material suppliers at Avery Dennison, who have agreed to donate 15000 square metres of material I’m proud to be part of the team of suppliers collaborating to get this done.
Steve Baker

Managing Director, Baker Labels

We committed to serve one million meal packs in three months, and with the extraordinary support of so many amazing people and companies we’ve done exactly that. The NHS has worked tirelessly for us during this crisis and so I hope what we have done with this campaign has made their daily lives a bit easier to manage.

As we start to wind down production I am filled with hope and thanks. Hope that we will together overcome this awful pandemic, and thanks to the NHS for what they are doing, as well as to everyone who has supported us to ensure this campaign made good on its promise to the NHS frontline. In the past my teams have won many Grand Prix and Championships – so I know how much goes into achieving a goal – but contributing to this effort, at such an important time for our country, has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. As ever, these things are never done alone, it is always about a team and the Salute the NHS team has been simply superb.

Rob Dennis

co-founder, Salute the NHS