Hibs have announced that the club will proudly bear the words “Thank You NHS” on the front of thier new shirts when next season does get underway.
The club decided to take the opportunity to express the thanks of the entire Hibernian and football community to the magnificent health service for the heroic, selfless and dedicated efforts of its staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
The club has spoken to senior management at both NHS Scotland and NHS Lothian, and the suggestion has been warmly received.
Hib will be working in partnership with NHS Lothian and Hibernian Community Foundation to deliver a layer of meaningful communications, engagement and community service.
The club also announced that thier first home league game will be “Thank You NHS Day” and hundreds of NHS staff will be welcomed along as thier guests.
The words of thanks will adorn the new home shirts, and supporters will be asked to pay the sum of £5 to have the transfer applied, with all profits being donated to local NHS charity, Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation.
The mocked-up picture shows how the new kit will look with the message applied. Hibs will be announcing how to pre-order your shirt over the next few days and the orders will be fulfilled when the strips are available in July.
The club is planning further fundraising throughout the season and expects to hand over a six-figure donation to the NHS charity by the end of the season. In addition, the club is donating a minimum of 100 tickets to NHS staff for all of our home matches, with fans being invited to participate in fundraising to help fund more.
Ronald Gordon, Hibernian Chairman, said: “In sport we celebrate our heroes and our stars. The NHS have shown they are our true heroes and our stars – they have valiantly cared for and nurtured us through the most difficult and challenging health crisis of our lives. Their efforts on behalf of all of us, which still continue today, have been magnificent and Hibernian wants to say thank you and celebrate them in the most meaningful way that we can.
“Additionally, we will be raising money and inviting NHS heroes to our games at Easter Road, and the club and our players will be working with our friends and colleagues at NHS Lothian to deliver a programme of health promotion and community service that will raise awareness and inform our entire community. I’m very proud, because this initiative speaks to the character and purpose of Hibernian Football Club.”
Scotland’s Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick, said: “The dedicated NHS workforce are under unprecedented pressure as they deal with the impact of the pandemic. I welcome this excellent initiative by Hibernian FC, which will allow the club and its supporters to say thank you to the NHS. This generous gesture – which will be supported by further fundraising activity – will also see tickets given to NHS staff for home games, and a donation to Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation. As well as joining Hibs in thanking the NHS staff, I applaud the club for this wonderful idea – it highlights the positive impact football can have on a range of issues.”
Tim Davison, Chief Executive of NHS Lothian, also welcomed the idea, saying; “This is a big-hearted move from Hibernian Football Club and I know that all our staff and patients will greatly appreciate the generosity and thoughtfulness of this wonderful gesture. We are proud of our amazing teamwork at NHS Lothian too, so are delighted and grateful that a club with such strong local community roots should honour us in this way.”
Esther Robertson, Interim Chair of Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, the official charity fund of NHS Lothian, said: “This is a lovely idea and will help us fund more initiatives to support the wellbeing of patients and staff during these challenging times. Our funds provide extras which core NHS funding cannot be used for, such as providing tablets to patients to help them keep in touch with loved ones while in hospital, providing recliner chairs in rest rooms for hard working staff and funding art activity packs to help reduce anxiety and boredom in patients while in hospital for extended periods. Initiatives like these make a big difference to patients and staff, particularly when the going gets tough.”
Leeann Dempster, Chief Executive, said: “Our front-of-shirt sponsorship is our most visible and valuable sponsorship opportunity and we thought this season of all seasons we needed to show our appreciation to the NHS. As Ron said, we want to say thanks and we want to help raise awareness and also raise funds for good health causes. We know our supporters will rally behind this in their thousands.
“The club and Community Foundation have a proud track record of working with NHS Lothian through our unique GameChanger initiative, and we will be combining to create a programme for matchdays and non-matchdays to help tackle some of the health and social issues we will see arise post-Covid-19.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, this initiative does not cost the public purse one penny. It has been helped enormously by a small group of supporters who supported us in the idea and we are grateful to them all.”