Season’s greetings! Starbucks UK offers NHS workers a free beverage this December as a festive thank you

It’s the season of cheer, and earlier this month Starbucks UK welcomed the return of its festive give away to NHS staff across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For the fourth consecutive year as part of Starbucks collaboration with NHS Charities Together, on 6 December, NHS workers were able to order a free Tall handcrafted beverage of their choice in-store. 

With a busy day ahead, partners from the Starbucks offices in London headed into stores across the United Kingdom to join green apron partners in crafting and serving beverages to NHS staff. One of them was Liis Siirak, a Category Specialist at Starbucks UK who put her apron back on to help at a store on Tottenham Court Road. “The highlight of my day was being able to connect with not only customers, but my fellow partners too,” she said. “Before moving to the Starbucks EMEA Support Centre in 2021 I worked in stores, so I loved being able to make beverages I hadn’t made in years! Being part of such a special day reminded me of how we are all connected by a simple shared passion: our love of coffee.” 

Left to right: Ping Liu, Isabel Acosta Ortega, Wojciech Hoga-Majorkiewicz, Rodny Rodrigues, Eike Gantois, Claudia Mackey, Jiyoung Choi, Liis Siirak, Giulio Losi, Bruce Dodin, Mohammed Sameer, Mara Saviano, Piangkwan Thodsanit, Viktors Jaunusans, Nicholas Landon and Rachel Sarah Ward.

Left to right: Marc Messmer, Sharon Walker, Wen Hong Ye Fu, Antonio Pagano, Nur Eizzaty, Jake Marshall, Yasmine Imbrahim, Rifat Jafrin and Solome Asfaw.

Returning behind the bar for such a big day may have brought back fond memories for partners like Liis, but for the NHS workers collecting their free beverages, the day was just as special. “It’s nice to have a few discounts or freebies for being a part of the NHS,” Gemma Bannister, a Midwife at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said at the Warren Street store. “It makes me feel appreciated, definitely. Especially after a night shift!” 

“The free drink day is great, it’s so lovely!” Tracey Billington, a Senior Staff Nurse at Mortimer Market Centre said at a store on Tottenham Court Road. “I didn’t actually know about it until Sharon [a fellow nurse at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust] told me, ‘Come and grab your free drink!’. When I ordered, the barista asked if I wanted cream on top of my hot chocolate – I didn’t even realise that was an option!” she continued. “It’s cheered me up to no end.” 

Left to right: Serena Kaw, Jigna Shah, Sharon Sterling, Tracey Billington, Rowan Faiers, Haigen David, Georgina Fall and Lucy Holt.

Whether a festive thank you in the form of a post-night shift Hazelnut Crunch Hot Chocolate (a new addition to the 2023 Holiday menu) or a classic Americano to get the day started, the gesture embodies the ongoing support Starbucks provides NHS Charities Together. But the NHS staff that came into Starbucks stores weren’t the only ones to enjoy a festive treat.  

For the first time in the partnership, Starbucks donated Starbucks Frappuccino® Mocha Flavoured Chilled Coffees and Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte Premium Instant Coffee to staff at 19 hospitals in remote locations across the UK. Also for the first time, free Caramel Waffles were offered to NHS staff when they purchased a drink at a participating We Proudly Serve Starbucks® locations inside NHS hospitals.   

Alex Rayner, General Manager at Starbucks UK, said: “We know how much NHS staff have enjoyed taking part in this special day and it’s something we look forward to year after year, so we are thrilled to see our partnership with NHS Charities Together flourish and our offer extend to more NHS workers than ever before. We look forward to building on this success so we can continue to give back to the communities we serve.”  

The partnership sees Starbucks stores across the UK working with NHS Charities Together’s network of over 230 local NHS charities, which are based in every hospital, mental health, ambulance and community health service across the UK to help health services go further. NHS Charities Together has funded thousands of projects including vital mental health support for NHS staff, training for emergency volunteers, equipment and support for patients and community partnership programmes to prevent ill health and reduce pressure on NHS services.

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Barista Champions Reunite: a London reunion brews up coffee and career inspiration