Adding a touch of sparkle to a virtual awards ceremony

It’s just another day at the office. Except I’m not at ‘work’ of course, I’m in my new home office. As I look out the window, the roads are quiet and the skies are remarkably clear of vapour trails. There’s also an incredibly loud blackbird out there somewhere breaking the silence. Also out there is COVID-19 and as a result, NHS Creative, like most of the world, has been in lockdown.


Of course, the real heroes of this terribly difficult time are the many thousands of clinical staff who continue to go to work on the frontline every day, and who would say, if you asked them, are ‘just doing their job’. And it’s not only the clinical staff – premises need cleaning and maintaining, equipment needs delivering, and canteens need to keep staff going. I clapped them all with my family and neighbours every Thursday evening.


But behind all these staff are also thousands of workers of every level without whom the NHS would simply cease to function. Like most of us at NHS Creative, a lot of them are working from home too – and one thing that could easily be lost in this situation is the sense of teamwork, camaraderie and the living of values.


Well, there really is no reason in this new world for those things to slip by the wayside. Recently, NHS England and NHS Improvement South East approached us with an unusual task – or rather, one which could become more commonplace in the ‘new normal’. An organisation’s annual staff awards ceremony is an opportunity to step away from the workplace, relax with colleagues, and recognise and celebrate personal achievements. Not this year, thanks to COVID-19. Instead it was being conducted over an MS Teams video call.


So how is it possible to replicate even a fraction of the glitz, glamour and sparkle of the annual awards show? Well, that was our challenge, as we set about creating an animated awards show, live and via MS Teams, presented by Anne Eden, the South East Regional Director.


And so, it was lights, music…ACTION, as our animation played to a live audience of 250 staff all in their own homes, as we unveiled the shortlist for each of the award categories over MS Teams. As I said at the start of this blog…just another day at the office!



Messages during the ceremony included: “lovely way of doing awards” and “fantastic bit of tech for our stars!” and after the event Sally Falquero, Communications and Engagement Manager for NHS England and NHS Improvement South East said: “The film was extremely well received, so a huge thank you for all your hard work and for enabling us to celebrate our awards in a really creative, virtual way.”


And yet, we weren’t finished there. The thing about a virtual awards ceremony is that you can’t have your winners walking away empty handed. In an increasingly digital world, printed items still have their place. So we produced a set of personalised certificates for all the winners, printed on a high stock, which we mailed out to the home addresses of all the winners.



It’s a good example of how we can help to facilitate new and creative ways for the NHS to say thank you to its staff for their immense hard work and dedication during a year that will live long in the memory. And what more worthy cause could there be? On the occasion of the 72nd birthday of the NHS, we thank you all!


#NHSbirthday #ThankYouTogether

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