PwC with Help NHS Heroes: Pop-up Shops

Exceptional Support and Delivery to a Client During COVID-19

Help NHS Heroes was born out of the COVID-19 crisis. Its mission is to make the lives of NHS workers easier and safer through pop-up shops and services. Its range of activity spans the provision of essential goods, such as food and PPE, to logistical services, and has been hugely appreciated by NHS workers in the areas where it has operated.

The severity of the pandemic hit hard in March 2020. Almost overnight, the NHS became overstretched, and this was brought sharply into focus when a self-recorded video by critical care nurse Dawn Bilbrough featured on news programmes up and down the country. Dawn made a tearful plea for shoppers to stop panic-buying, as after a 48-hour shift, she had found her local supermarket shelves empty of even the most basic supplies.

This inspired Jason Mawer, CEO of Addaptive Group, to act; his idea being to create temporary supermarkets specifically for NHS front-line staff. PwC was engaged, pro bono, to provide programme, technology and management support, and to create a sustainable operating model with appropriate governance in place. Their focus was on meeting the explicit objective of providing as much access as possible for NHS workers and their families to essential goods and services.

PwC had the capacity, capability and resources to rapidly deploy staff and support that ambition and get the programme off the ground. The first goal was to create a not-for-profit entity – Help NHS Heroes – and use that as a campaign vehicle. This organisation was set up, with the team behind the initiative consisting largely of volunteers – many of whom were furloughed from their regular jobs.

The core application and process solution was anchored on Salesforce technology, enabling NHS staff to order groceries and receive over 2,400 care boxes. 5,188 grocery and gift boxes were provided in total. Additionally, PwC supported the design, build and content creation of the website helpnhsheroes.com, and led the communication and marketing strategy.

As the programme rolled out, PwC’s involvement deepened. Once the app, systems and shops were launched, the team also got involved with front-line activities, including manning shop counters and resolving teething problems at the back end of the operation – often at weekends. They ultimately dedicated over 3,000 hours to the campaign.

Looking further ahead, PwC also ensured that processes were resilient and scalable, producing full operational documentation to enable the continued expansion and evolution of the programme beyond the immediate needs of the pandemic.

As an adjunct to the programme’s main activity, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust asked PwC to lead on the distribution of over 45,000 PPE items to staff in St Mary’s Hospital. They worked alongside Addaptive to make this happen, and used a quickly developed feature within the Salesforce app to allow staff to book a slot for PPE collection.

The whole PwC team is incredibly proud to have been part of something that had such a positive impact on workers who were giving so much to the COVID-19 effort.

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.