An NHS key worker has revealed how a break in Devon made them ‘feel appreciated’ after being on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

Catherine Jarvis, a housekeeper at St George’s Hospital in South London, redeemed her free holiday voucher in Woolacombe as part of the Stay For Heroes initiative organised by online booking specialist eviivo.

The NHS & Key Worker Holiday Fund is a donation platform, with members of the public able to nominate a key worker to receive a voucher for a stay in a B&B, vacation rental, hotel or pub with rooms.

Catherine, 56, enjoyed a weekend in North Devon in July – allowing her to recharge her batteries after a ‘stressful and emotional year’.

“It was a brilliant stay and it is a lovely idea,” Catherine said.

“I know that my colleagues are incredibly grateful for all the support that’s been shown to NHS workers this year. Seeing everyone get behind us has been amazing and it does make all the difference when you’re working long hours to know people appreciate the work you’re doing.

“It made me feel appreciated for all the hard work us in the frontline have been putting in. Come July I was ready for a break and finding out that I could redeem bookings at independent accommodation properties across the UK for free as a thank you made the time off feel all the sweeter.”

The scheme has already seen almost 16,000 beds made available.

Catherine stayed at Woolacombe’s Marine House, and Jo Allum – who runs the business with fiance Andy Heal – said it was a pleasure to host a key worker.

“We weren’t worried about welcoming key workers,” she said. “In fact, we had some great feedback about our procedures and how guests felt completely safe which helped us to be confident in providing accommodation in these circumstances.

“We were just happy to be able to give something back to those people putting their lives on the line of us.

“We were more than happy to support the scheme and have welcomed all kinds of key workers this season, both using the scheme and not.

“We feel it is important to support all key workers and we think the scheme is a lovely way to give back to a group of people who have worked tirelessly all year to keep us safe and our country afloat.”





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