NHS workers offered free stays in Northumberland to recuperate after crisis

Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.
Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

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A Northumberland letting agency will be giving free holidays to front-line NHS workers from the region’s hospitals when the coronavirus crisis ends.

Coquet Cottages has teamed up with its property owners and Operation Recuperation to offer free stays of up to a week at a selection of its properties in the county.

The family-run firm has announced the scheme ‘to say a huge thank-you to the healthcare heroes who are risking their lives to keep the UK safe during these times’.

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When it is possible, nominated front-line healthcare workers from the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington, Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospital, and the University Hospital of North Durham, will be getting a much-needed break, as part of the UK-wide Operation Recuperation.

Stephanie Ringland, client services director at Coquet Cottages, said: “We’re in awe of our front-line healthcare workers, putting their lives at risk on a daily basis and working long shifts.

“To say thank you, we want to be able to reward them with a stay in Northumberland when the Covid-19 crisis ends. Fifteen have donated short breaks and full weeks at their properties to say thanks.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without Rachel from Operation Recuperation, who has done a brilliant job of setting up the charity.”

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Since it was started in late March to give healthcare workers a light at the end of the tunnel, the initiative has received pledges for more than 200 complimentary stays across the country.

Rachel Sherwood, the woman behind the initiative, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Coquet Cottages and its property owners for this superb donation.

“I was born and raised in Morpeth so I know the beneficiaries are going to have the most wonderful stays.”

Rachel founded Operation Recuperation after hearing about thousands of NHS staff coming out of retirement and putting their lives at risk on a daily basis.

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She knew that after Covid-19, healthcare workers would be psychologically as well as physically exhausted, and she wanted to provide them with some proper R&R (rest and relaxation), starting by donating a stay at her family property in Thailand.

When the time is right, Operation Recuperation will ask hospitals to nominate front-line healthcare workers to benefit from the scheme and their names will be entered into a draw.

“The more donations we receive, the more names we can pull out of that hat, so please think about whether you’re able to donate a future stay,” Rachel added.

To pledge a stay, email [email protected] or leave a message on the Operation Recuperation Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/oprecup

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