Renato moved to London five months ago to start his new job in the Cardiology department at King's College Hospital. Not long after the pandemic began, he was redeployed to work in one of the wellbeing hubs, funded through the Hospital Heroes Appeal to support NHS staff on the front line of COVID-19.  

Do you like working in the wellbeing hub?

I feel really good with myself doing this. Here I can help in a completely different way. I think it’s good for me. It’s been a challenge. I arrived in the UK five months ago from Portugal and it was a big change - the new language, country, job. To be redeployed after that, it was hard. 


What do you like about working here?

It’s really good when I go to the COVID-19 wards delivering hot meals and goodies. We see the happiness in the faces of the tired staff. It’s really, really good. 


Have you met many staff who are working on the front line on COVID-19 wards?

Yes, many. Unfortunately a lot of them come into the hub feeling tired and sad, because they deal with a lot of stuff. I understand - I work in a clinical area, so I know how hard it is to deal with different situations. In the hub I think they find a space to just relax and not think about anything for 15 minutes. And that 15 minutes can make their day easier. That’s why I feel good doing this. 


If I can’t help on the front line, then I want to help the people who are. 


What difference is the hub making to the staff who come?

I have had the opportunity to talk to lots of staff, and many have told me this is the best part of the day for them. Here they can relax and try to switch off from the situation they are having to deal with every single day. I think the hubs are the only spaces around the hospital where people can take a break. Before COVID-19 there was the canteen and a Costa, but now you can’t sit down there. 


What is really nice is to see how everyone outside of the hospital wants to help. For all of the donations that we have received, we are really grateful. 


What impact has that had on staff?

It’s been a huge impact because they know they are not alone. It’s not just them fighting this. They know everybody in different ways is trying to help them and give them the energy that they don’t always have. I think that’s the main point – they really feel that they have support in the background. 


2 June 2020