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Today (Tuesday, 8 September) marks the end of M&S’s Rainbow Sale—where 10% of the purchase price of each item (excluding VAT) across womenswear, menswear, kidswear and home was donated to NHS Charities Together. The first sale of its kind for the retailer, it drove an incredible fundraising total of £8 million, alongside a number of other fundraising initiatives including M&S’s All in This Together T-shirts launched in April supported by M&S Ambassador Holly Willoughby, bespoke bags for life in M&S Foodhalls and in-store till donations*.

M&S continues to play its part in protecting the NHS, but also in supporting their amazing work. Whilst the Rainbow sale is ending M&S is committed to continuing to support this important organisation and is today urging customers to sign up to its digital loyalty scheme Sparks where customers can select a charity from a choice of 30, including NHS Charities Together, for a donation to be made absolutely every time they shop in-store, online or through the M&S app. An incredible 24,000 customers have already selected the charity and are making a difference to NHS staff, volunteers, and patients whatever they buy—from school uniform, to a dine in deal, to a new sofa.

Thank You

Today, M&S is saying a big thank you to its colleagues who helped drive the fundraising total—from executing the sale in store, to keeping their local customers updated with their in-store fundraising total (as demonstrated by Ben and Claire at Kinsgley Village), to incredibly generous personal donations.  

Craig Corrin, the manager of M&S Carlisle, suggested creating the option for colleagues to be able to directly donate their 15% bonus for working during the pandemic to NHS Charities Together—an idea which was immediately implemented to the M&S pay roll system.

M&S is also saying a massive thank you to the brilliant NHS workers who appeared in its marketing campaign to promote the sale and shared their stories on M&S’s website of how NHS Charities Together helped during Covid 19. 

Zoe McDonald (senior staff nurse with the renal acute team on the Hebog Ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor), Mhairi-Jane Ramage (a specialist practitioner district nurse in Midlothian), Ray Atienza-Hawkes (a charge nurse in the Ambulatory Assessment Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford) and Suzanne Vickers (a matron for palliative and end-of-life care at County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust) all played a critical role in driving the £8 million raised, Ray for example shared how NHS Charities Together created a quiet room for his team which made a massive difference.

Ellie Orton, CEO of NHS Charities Together said:

“I can’t thank M&S customers enough—£8m is beyond what we could have ever dreamed of, the money you have raised is already making a huge difference for the NHS staff and volunteers who have been there for all of us during the Covid crisis.”


Further Detail: our NHS Worker case studies

Zoe McDonald

Zoe is a senior staff nurse with the renal acute team on the Hebog Ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, Wales. NHS Charities Together helped fund a wellbeing service for staff. 

“The first time I had to go to a Covid-19 ward to dialyse a patient, I didn’t sleep the night before. I was terrified, literally shaking when I walked in. The staff on the ward were so good, they put me at ease and now it feels OK to go there. I put on my protective gear; it’s become part of what we do. The charity helped fund a wellbeing service that provides support for staff to talk about their fears or how the pandemic was affecting them. I’ve heard from quite a few people who have used it and they said it helped a lot. The camaraderie of the staff has got me through. From my incredible manager to staff I’ve met for the first time; we’ve all helped each other.”

Mhairi-Jane Ramage

Mhairi-Jane is a specialist practitioner district nurse in Midlothian, Scotland. In May, her team received a ‘wellbeing hub in a tub’ filled with treats and practical items.  

“As community nurses, we visit patients at home – we’re a ward without walls, and build close relationships with patients and their families. When someone passes, we carry out a bereavement visit to see how the family is doing and give support. I went to see the wife of a patient who died in hospital. She hadn’t been able to visit because of Covid-19, and broke down. I comforted and reassured her, but felt helpless. After hard days like that you really appreciate the ‘hub in a tub’. Every item was so well considered: lavender face masks to ease anxiety, and snack bars to pop in the car in case we miss lunch. I took home a packet of seeds and now I have three flourishing basil plants. Pottering around getting lost in wee tasks, like growing herbs, helps me to relax and switch off.”

Ray Atienza-Hawkes

Ray is a charge nurse in the Ambulatory Assessment Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. NHS Charities Together helped to create a quiet room for Ray’s team.  

“The pandemic has restricted us in lots of ways – we can’t hold patients’ hands and they can’t see we’re smiling; if a colleague is upset, we can’t hug them. As a manager, I worry about my team: whether they have the protection they need, and the emotional and psychological impact this could have on them. At the height of the pandemic, we couldn’t escape from it. It was palpable. Travelling to work, I hardly saw anyone. It felt unreal. The charity helped transform our relatives’ room into a comfortable, calm and inviting space where staff can relax and reflect. I use it a lot. I might listen to a meditation app or sit down with a member of staff for a debrief or catch-up. Sometimes that’s all we need.”

Suzanne Vickers

Suzanne is matron for palliative and end-of-life care at County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Her patients were able to say their last goodbyes using iPads funded by NHS Charities Together.  

“Covid-19 patients often decline rapidly, and visiting restrictions mean they can’t be with their relatives. The iPads connected patients to family, pets and sights and sounds that evoke happy memories. We had one patient in hospital who said goodbye to his son using the iPad. His son was sitting in the garden, so he heard the birds one last time. There are 30 amazing palliative-care nurses in my team, and seeing them with their relatives has given comfort to families. We’ve seen people who’d been married for 60 or 70 years, saying goodbye, and could reassure them: ‘I’ll sit with her, she won’t die by herself’. I feel privileged to do this job, to know I make a difference.”

Further Detail: How £8million has been raised

  • At the beginning of April, M&S worked with NHS teams and its longstanding hospital partners to understand how, as a clothing and food retailer, it could best help meet some of the needs of the fantastic frontline NHS teams and the patients in their care.

  • M&S outlined plans to support the NHS, from providing clothes for patient packs, to implementing food deliveries to hospitals. Alongside this the team enabled NHS Charities Together as a Sparks charity and began to understand what more could be done for the charity. Momentum grew and M&S set up several major fundraising routes for NHS Charities Together which have taken off, including:

    • Launching a series of All in This Together T-shirts with endorsement from M&S Clothing Ambassador Holly Willoughby and M&S Food Ambassador Amanda Holden. Selected T-shirts remain available online  and all profits go to NHS Charities Together

    • Introducing a thank you NHS bag for life into its 560 Foodhalls—with all profits donated to NHS Charities Together—the bags were a small way customer could play their part whilst doing their weekly essential shop

    • Kicking off the Rainbow Sale. M&S donated 10% of the purchase price, excluding VAT, of all Rainbow sale items to NHS Charities Together

    • Enabling customer donations to the important charity at each and every M&S till point.