A PUBLIC fundraising campaign has been launched to build a permanent monument outside Russells Hall Hospital as a mark of thanks to key workers for their dedication during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 'Russells Hall Rainbow' will be situated outside the hospital and will be made up of individual glass hearts to create a rainbow as a permanent mark of thanks.

Councillor Keiran Casey launched the project and has teamed up with Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and the Trust charity to bring the statue to fruition.

Thousands of pounds have already been raised for the scheme, with donations made by organisations including Interserve, National Express, Western Power, The University of Wolverhampton, South Staffs Water, the University of Birmingham, Dudley College, Tipton and Coseley Building Society and Stonewater Housing Association.

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A Just Giving page has now been launched to get funds over the line and any money exceeding what is needed for the project will be donated to the Dudley Group NHS Charity to support the wellbeing of staff.

Speaking on the launch of the page, councillor Keiran Casey said: "It's great that we're now able to launch this public fundraising page and I hope local residents will want to donate and get involved with this really important community project.

"For me, this is about having something outside our main hospital in Dudley that will remain there forever and something that we can use to show our appreciation and give thanks for everything that has been done for us during the past few months which have been extremely difficult times".

"We owe so much more to those on the front line of this fight than words or sculptures can ever say, from those in our amazing NHS, in local care homes looking after family members and friends, people providing help and support right across Dudley to some of the most vulnerable residents, including health and wellbeing support for children to all those community heroes that have been delivering food parcels to those isolating and just being there for help and support.

"This sculpture will recognise all the work that has been done by so many, not only in the past few months, but for the tireless work they will continue to do long in to the future, something we must never forget or ever take for granted."

The sculpture has been designed by local artist Steve Field and comes after councillors in Dudley recently voted to bestow the Freedom of the Borough the health, care and key workers.

Diane Wake, Chief Executive of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said; “The rainbow sculpture is a beautiful idea which will remind our staff of the tremendous support shown to them by our community throughout the pandemic. We have been so touched by the generosity of individuals and businesses who have donated everything from food and care kits to scrubs and visors, not to mention all the fundraising they have done for our charity.

“I have been personally so proud of how our staff have responded to the challenge of COVID-19 and this will be a fitting tribute to their dedication and skill, and also the link between the Trust and the people we care for".

To make a donation, visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/RussellsHallRainbow