Generous staff at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) have bought 500 eye level reading rulers for patients and staff with dyslexia, simply by donating the ‘extra’ pennies from their pay packets every month.

Kind-hearted NHS staff at UHMBT sign up to a scheme called ‘Pennies from Heaven’, where every month their salary is rounded down to the nearest pound with the pennies donated to Bay Hospitals Charity, the local charity that helps make a difference to the 365,000 people who live across the bay.

The most someone can ever give is 99p each time they’re paid, but the overall amount soon adds up

Gillian Day, Inclusion & Diversity Workforce Advisor at the Trust said: “The eye level reading rulers were bought by our disability staff network group to coincide with Dyslexia Awareness Week, which is taking place this week. Today is actually World Dyslexia Awareness Day.

“I’m delighted that our application to buy the rulers using money raised through the Pennies from Heaven scheme was successful.

“The rulers will enable visual stress sufferers to combine page tinting with tracking support. They are convenient and unobtrusive and come in an assortment of colours so that they can be used by a wide range of people.”

The rulers will benefit both staff and patients in a number of ways, including:

  • Giving staff the tools to perform tasks quickly and efficiently to minimise the impact on patient waiting time
  • Helping to reduce the risk of errors
  • Increasing reading speed by up to 25%
  • Enhancing reading comprehension
  • Improving reading accuracy
  • Improving attention span
  • Helping cost savings for the Trust – as the rulers can reduce the need to print on coloured paper
  • Helping to improve health & wellbeing – reducing reading time and the need for higher levels of concentration which often leads to tiredness and headaches therefore helping to enhance the patient experience.

Gillian continues: “The rulers will be available in a range of different colours and will be available on each of our wards and on reception desks. They can also be used by patients with dyslexia to read a book, if they’re staying in one of our hospitals, or to read an information leaflet in one of our out-patient units.”

Ian Dewar, Chaplain at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), and himself dyslexic adds: “People with dyslexia think differently to most of the population and see life in patterns and shapes, so when someone who has dyslexia reads words on a page their brain naturally starts to make connections to other areas of thought and this can disrupt their reading process.

“These rulers will help people who have dyslexia stay focused and also help supply more information with which they can make connections, build patterns and aid creativity.”

Karmini McCann, Assistant Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at UHMBT, said:  “The money that our colleagues working across our hospitals donate through the Pennies from Heaven scheme is used to help us buy those little ‘extras’ that fall outside the NHS remit. We’re extremely grateful to every staff member who takes part in the scheme each month and I cannot thank everyone who donates their ‘pennies’ to help raise these vital funds.”

If you would like to make a donation to help make a difference to the 365,000 people who live across the bay, TEXT BAYH05 to 70070 with the amount you wish to give, or visit:

By donating to Bay Hospitals Charity you can help fund the latest equipment and help make your local hospital more comfortable, ensuring the best possible care and treatment.