With lockdown rules still in place across the UK, adjusting to staying at home has seen people turning to social media to keep themselves entertained.
As a result of this, social media challenges have become bigger than ever before - but one social media trend recently making waves has been encouraging people to donate money to the NHS, with amazing results.
You might have seen the Run for Heroes campaign crop up on your Instagram story feed - but what exactly is the challenge? This is everything you need to know about it, and how you can get involved.
What is the Run for Heroes challenge?
The challenge is simple - participants are asked to run 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), donate £5 to the NHS, and nominate five more people to do the same.
Participants tend to post pictures of themselves to their Instagram story, showing that they’ve run the 5k and donated the £5, before tagging a further five people.
You don’t have to wait to be tagged to take part - you can kickstart your own chain of people by running 5k, donating £5 and tagging five of your own friends. The Run for Heroes Instagram page reminds people to continue social distancing when going for a run.
Simply click the ‘donate’ button and you’ll be taken to a page where you can enter the amount of money you want to donate. While the challenge states you should donate £5, there’s nothing stopping you from donating more, if you want to.
You can donate by card or through PayPal, and you can leave a message on the Run for Heroes page as well if you want to. You can also include your name, or you can remain anonymous.
How did the trend start?
Run for Heroes was launched by Olivia Strong, a 27 year old woman from Edinburgh, in a bid to raise money to support NHS workers during the ongoing battle against Covid-19.
Olivia said, “Our NHS workers are working tirelessly to protect us in this nerve-wracking time. I wanted to celebrate their efforts and raise money to help them continue the fight to save lives.”
The campaign was first launched on Instagram on Saturday 28 March, and since then has seen over 50,000 people across the globe take part - including celebrities such as Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw, former England footballer John Terry, singer Ellie Goulding, and Love Island star Laura Anderson.
How much money has Run for Heroes raised, and where is the money going?
The initial target that the Run For Heroes campaign wanted to raise was £5,000, and they managed to surpass that within four days. Now their new target of £2 million has also been smashed.
In a video published on Wednesday 15 April to the official Run For Heroes Instagram account, it was revealed that the initiative has raised over £2 million for the NHS.
The caption for the video said, “YOU ARE ALL AMAZING. Collectively you’ve raised A MILLION in a day (casual) for the NHS workers and volunteers on the frontline of Covid-19.
“You’ve officially spread the word to over 400,000 runners globally and on top of that crashed the fundraising site on numerous occasions.”
The money will be donated to NHS Charities Together, an organisation that represents, supports and champions NHS charities.
The post goes on to explain that the Run For Heroes campaign is working with NHS Charities Together to find out exactly what £2 million means to them.
“Currently we know that this will be going towards well being packs, accomodation, volunteer expenses, mental health support and support isolated patients communicate with their friends and family,” the post states.
At the end of the post, it asks everyone to “continue running, donating and nominating”, with a new goal to raise £5 million.
There has been no official word on when the campaign might end.
Virgin Money controversy
The use of the Virgin Money Giving platform to raise money for NHS Charities Together has caused some controversy. Taking to Twitter, users made their opinion of the platform clear.
One wrote, “With over 26 million donated to the NHS Charities Together campaign, Richard Branson’s Virgin Money Giving have made nearly 1.3 million in ‘platform’ and ‘processing’ fees. Maybe people should think twice about how they donate.”
The tweet included a screenshot of the Virgin Money Giving FAQ page, explaining that “donations on Virgin Giving are subject to a 2 per cent platform fee, and a 2.5 per cent payment processing fee.”
It continues, “There are no monthly charges for charities, or any charges on Gift Aid, and now supporters can elect to cover the costs for the charity when donating.”
Another Twitter user wrote, “They take the equivalent of 90p every £20!!!! DO NOT donate to the NHS through Virgin Money Giving! Virgin sued the NHS for not being given an £83m contract! And haven’t paid on £2 billion worth of contracts from the NHS!”
As mentioned above, Richard Branson began legal action against the NHS in 2016. Virgin Care sued six Surrey clinical commissioning groups, NHS England and Surrey County Council, after Virgin Care lost out on an £82m contract to provide children’s health services across Surrey.
The NHS ended up settling the legal dispute for an undisclosed amount of money.