Shortly after the first lockdown, management of SEP had to stop our meetings and cancel membership payments. We supported where we could with free online business reviews, training and support. However, as we saw the NHS struggle and heard of all catering outlets in our local hospitals stop, led by our Hannah Shepard we formed ‘Surrey Drive’ another way we could help both our members and the local NHS.
Working in partnership with the Royal Surrey County Hospital and their surrounding district, over a 12-week period we; supplied over 26,000 meals and sweet treats, flowers for staff and patients leaving the hospital, coordinated for RSCH various other donations of food through our operation, supported not only RSCH, but Haslemere, Cranleigh and Milford hospital along with specialist centres in Guildford, Godalming and the Phyliss Tuckwell Hospice.
This mammoth achievement was made possible by our personal fundraising of over £16k and then working with RSCH Charity who funded the rest. The operation was supported by over 30 SEP member businesses, with caterers creating meals at cost, florist and cake makers providing treats and bouquets and other members supporting as our pool of volunteer drivers to deliver the food, manpower to serve the food and general logistics, marquees and even lighting up Guildford Cathedral every Thursday in blue in support of the NHS. We also had VIP helpers along the way from High Sheriff of Surrey, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and Sophie the Countess of Wessex. For more information on our project, ask us, or see was involved and pictures of the operation, visit ‘Surrey Drive’ on Facebook. Supporting the local NHS and offering our members a purpose and opportunity during the lockdown.