Colleagues at NHS hospital trusts across Lancashire and South Cumbria are benefitting from generous donations from NHS Charities Together following heroic fundraising efforts from people like Colonel Tom Moore, who raised almost £33m for the NHS.

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, NHS Charities Together, a national membership organisation representing, supporting and championing NHS Charities across the UK, recently granted an incredible £355,500 to the four hospital charities which operate across our region.

Charity teams at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have each received large donations to help support hospital staff while they are working under such challenging conditions.

So far at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, the charity has funded NHS Hero Care Packs which included hand creams and face cream, and NHS Charities Together money has helped to create an NHS Heroes Hub for its 8,000 staff, as well as provide outdoor relaxation areas across the Trust

Paula Wilson, Head of Charities and Fundraising at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts of amazing people like Colonel Tom, we have been awarded £94,500 from NHS Charities Together, which is already making a huge difference.

“The funds are so far going towards a beautiful outdoor space for colleagues at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, as well as helping to support our NHS Heroes Hub, a supermarket where colleagues can go and pick up donated food, drink and toiletries for free.

"Our colleagues have also put forward many other amazing suggestions including wobble rooms and hydration stations, so I’m really looking forward to seeing more of these ideas come to fruition for the benefit of our extremely hard-working and dedicated teams at both our hospitals .”

David Wilkinson, Director of People and Organisational Development at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, said: "We are incredibly grateful to have received £84,000 from NHS Charities Together thanks to the many amazing donors and fundraisers who showed their support of our wonderful NHS staff.

“These funds will be used to support the well-being of our valued colleagues and volunteers during this difficult time, both in our hospitals and in the community. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received over the past month, and have already used donations from the community to fund 'Safe Space' rooms for colleagues, additional support to colleagues needing to isolate away from their families plus providing baskets of fresh fruit to teams.

"To ensure that we provide the right support to the right people, we are asking colleagues for their thoughts on the best use of the funds so the money is directed to where it will make the most difference. Our trade union colleagues are leading this approach working with our local charities team.''

Kila Redfearn, Head of Blue Skies Hospitals Fund, the charity for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “It’s been phenomenal watching people up and down the country come together to support the NHS, and thanks to NHS Charities Together we’ve received £79,000 worth of grants.

“So far, we’ve used some of these funds to equip “wobble rooms” with items to make them a relaxing space for staff to use. From tea and coffee to radios and LED candles, we’re doing all we can to support staff wellbeing during this difficult time. We’ve also been able to purchase toiletries to put together care packs for staff and buy material to make extra scrubs.

“We regularly liaise with the staff within our Trust, including those on the frontline, so we can ensure that the money is being spent wherever the need is greatest at the time.”

Christine Hughes, Director of Communications and Engagement at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, said: “Thanks so much to everybody who has supported the NHS and our staff during this really difficult period. Being a member of the NHS Charities Together means we can increase our spending on items to improve staff health and wellbeing, and will be consulting with staff on what would benefit them most.

“There has been some fabulous examples of fundraising taking part during the outbreak which have been a huge boost to our staff while they do there amazing job in sometimes very difficult circumstances. We are incredibly proud of them all.”

There are more than 230 NHS charities across the UK and most of them focus on helping hospitals do more. Collectively, these charities give £1 million every day to the NHS so that people can stay well for longer and get better faster.

In recent years, NHS charities have funded major capital projects, pioneering research and medical equipment in hospitals, helping patients access the best possible care when they need it most.

They also play a key role in mobilising volunteers to support NHS staff, brightening wards and waiting areas with colourful and engaging art and building an important link between hospitals and their communities. Other NHS charities support mental health trusts, community health trusts and ambulance trusts.