Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie, through its London pro bono practice, has advised in the creation of a new major sporting event, the Gratitude Games, to raise awareness and to support the mental health of emergency service and NHS workers in the UK. 

The first Gratitude Games will be hosted by the Cities of Manchester and Salford from 27th April – 29th May 2022 at leading venues, including the iconic Etihad campus. The Games will unite over 20,000 Emergency Responders and their families, across 20 different sports. From the whole of the NHS and the Fire and Rescue Service, to RNLI and Cave Rescue, workers from 17 different Emergency Services will be able to take part. The event will be open to all sporting abilities, and the triathlon and road running events (including a 5k and 10k), will also be open to the public.

The funds raised will be deployed through four existing specialist organisations – Police Care UK, The Fire Fighters Charity, The Ambulance Staff Charity and Duty to Care (NHS) - who collectively support all emergency responders to improve their mental health. Duty to Care, for example, provides NHS workers with free one to one online consultations. This is followed by wellbeing support including coaching, yoga and other holistic interventions.

Eleven lawyers from the practice groups IP Tech, Corporate and Banking & Finance have worked on a pro bono basis over the last 12 months to help the Games’ organisers bring the plan to fruition. Work included advice on trademarks, trustee and direction remuneration, Governmental contract review, contract review and privacy policy review. 

Corporate partner Jo Hewitt commented, “We are delighted to have helped the organisers of the Gratitude Games bring their amazing concept to realisation. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the mental health of emergency services and NHS workers and the Games will be the perfect platform to raise public awareness of the challenges faced by so many of our Emergency Responders.”

Staś Kuźmierkiewicz, Senior Pro Bono Associate commented, ““We are extremely proud to be able to support this amazing initiative and are grateful that the team decided to instruct us. We’re sure the Gratitude Games will be a real success, and we will remain on hand to advise and support the organisers as we approach the launch date”.

The Baker McKenzie team was led by corporate partner Jo Hewitt and supported by associates Nadine Archer, Matthew Vaghela, Jessica Watkins, Annabel Cox, Alexandra Willis (all IP Tech) Saskia Volhard (Corporate) Gabriella Steuer (Banking & Finance) Isabel Carty (Energy, Mining & Infrastructure) and trainees Daniel Keene and Abigail Saffron (both IP Tech).

The Gratitude Games is the brainchild of serving Buckinghamshire fire fighter Mike Downard and sports industry veteran Simon Rider, who founded the charity UK Emergency Services Giving (UKESG) to help ensure every Emergency Responder has access to the tailored mental health support they need.

To donate to the fundraising appeal, please visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/gratitudegames
Explore Our Newsroom