Bay Hospitals Charity is delighted to have received several grants from ‘NHS Charities Together’ totalling £134,000 for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT) to support colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NHS Charities Together provides a forum for nationwide NHS fundraising and advocacy campaigns, specialist advice and guidance and training opportunities as well as access to online resources and support. A number of highly positive initiatives have been possible at UHMBT due to the NHS Charities Funding, including a new health and wellbeing campaign which is planned to start in January 2021.
All of the spending has been based on ideas from colleagues and, to date, the Trust has received more than 150 responses which identified 105 separate projects. The Trust has approved and is working to deliver on 44 of these requests and 15 are still being evaluated and costed.
In addition to this, a large number of the requests have come from colleagues seeking to support wider groups of colleagues, patients and visitors. It has been uplifting to see these examples of kindness to others.
Judith Read, Manager of Bay Hospitals Charity, said: “During the pandemic it was noted that some members of staff felt isolated because they were working from home. A decision was taken to provide webcams for those colleagues so that they felt more in touch with their colleagues and less isolated.
“Colleagues were also keen to tidy up outdoor spaces so that they could have areas in which to recharge their batteries away from clinical areas. Funding was provided to purchase plants and outdoor furniture and we now have safe havens around our sites.”
One of the latest initiatives has been to provide marquees at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Furness General Hospital and Westmorland General Hospital as rest areas for colleagues.
Colleagues also asked Bay Hospitals Charity if they could be provided with fridges and microwaves so they could have a safe place to store and warm food close to their place of work. Bay Hospitals Charity then provided funding across the Trust for colleagues who requested microwaves and fridges.
Some NHS Charities Together funding was used to project Christmas lights and images onto the exterior walls of Furness General Hospital, Westmorland General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to bring a little festive cheer to patients, visitors and staff.
Thanks to the NHS Charities Together funds, Bay Hospitals Charity was also able to support UHMBT colleagues by providing fruit baskets earlier in the pandemic to ensure that colleagues had access to healthy and nutritious snacks.
A further grant of £50,000 has recently been awarded to the Trust’s Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team to run a wellness check campaign for colleagues. The aim of this campaign, which is due to start in 2021, is to offer every colleague at the Trust a wellness check and set a target of improvement to then review within an agreed period of time. This covers health markers such as Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol, blood pressure, sleep patterns, stress/anxiety levels, diet, exercise, general wellbeing, smoking/alcohol and direct support service referrals.
Each participating colleague will attend and look at aspects of their health that they could improve or change and set a health target that will be reviewed within an agreed period of time, for example, six weeks or three months. Colleagues will be able to achieve real and measurable change in the areas that are specific to their needs; ultimately this should support a healthier and happier workforce.
There will be extensive data collection during the campaign which will enable the Trust to understand the health of the entire workforce. The Trust will then be able to offer bespoke advice and support to meet colleagues’ needs. The data will also enable the Trust to support the relaunch of its ‘Flourish’ campaign to deliver services that will fully support colleagues’ health needs.
This pilot study will launch in January of 2021, starting with colleagues of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) heritage who have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The programme will be extended to all colleagues from the end of February 2021.
Judith said: “NHS Charities Together’s support has been invaluable throughout the pandemic. The funding has enabled us to offer much needed support to colleagues at what has been an incredibly challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally. We are hugely thankful for this support and look forward to seeing the benefits of the wellbeing campaign which is due to start in January 2021.”
David Wilkinson, Director of People and Organisational Development for UHMBT, said: “It’s great news for all colleagues at the Trust that we will soon be running a wellbeing campaign thanks to NHS Charities Together. We always strive to make the Trust a great place to work and a great place to be cared for; this funding will assist us to greatly enhance both. Throughout the pandemic the NHS Charities Together funds have enabled us to give colleagues important additional support. It is greatly appreciated by everyone at UHMBT.”