A NEW charity lottery with a £25,000 jackpot has been launched to raise "vital funds" for hospitals across Morecambe Bay.

Premature babies and elderly patients with dementia are likely to be among those from the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment and giving extra care "above and beyond" what the NHS provides.

Every £1 entry will give players the chance to win the weekly Saturday £25,000 jackpot plus many other cash prizes.

At least 50p per entry will go directly to the Bay Hospitals Charity, which has launched the lottery and is the official charity of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The charity said the rest of the money would go to its "trusted" lottery provider, Unity Lottery, which provided administrative support and covered the cost of all prizes won. That meant there would be no ongoing costs to the hospitals charity for running the lottery.

Heather Wood, matron for children and young people at Furness General Hospital, said extra money raised would help clinical teams across Morecambe Bay buy the very latest equipment.

She explained: "The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at the South Lakes Birth Centre at FGH looks after babies who need more than the usual level of care in the first few days and weeks of their life. These include babies who are born prematurely, have difficulty being delivered or have concerns following birth.

“Thanks to Bay Hospitals Charity, last year we were able to fund a brand new incubator for our SCBU at FGH. Recently, incubator manufacturers have developed newer models, which have some really useful benefits. The newer features include special noise and light controls which are key to optimising brain development in premature babies.

“The new incubator can also be lowered to the height of a parent’s lap, with a special tray that pulls out, allowing parents to almost have their baby on their lap. Babies in our neonatal unit are sometimes too small, or too sick and vulnerable, to be cuddled and held like a healthy baby and we know parental contact and touch is really important."

Dianne Smith, dementia matron at the hospitals trust, said the Bay Hospitals Charity and its "incredible" supporters did "brilliant work throughout the year supporting our patients and clinical teams".

She explained: “Thanks to the charity, last year we purchased reminiscence shops and memory walls. Using memorabilia such as old-fashioned shops and old pictures of the local area help our clinical teams provide a therapeutic environment for our patients to reminisce, and staff can also use these items when caring for people with dementia who are unsettled or agitated or need some social activity.

“These additional items, which our charity has funded, will help us deliver even better care for the patients living with dementia across our hospitals. I think the new lottery is great idea."

Sue Smith OBE, deputy chief executive and executive chief nurse at the hospitals trust greeted the lottery as "exciting news". She said money raised would also help provided specialist staff training and improve the hospital environment.

The new Unity lottery is run by the Barrow-in-Furness-based lottery company, Sterling Lotteries, which runs lottery and raffle services for more than 350 charities and good causes across the country.

Managing director Richard Dixon said it was "really satisfying to know we are doing our bit to help our local hospitals".

To play, visit www.bayhospitalscharity.org.uk/lottery


Notes to editors:

1. For further information, please contact: Andrew Pryde, Communications and Engagement Manager, Bay Hospitals Charity on 01524 516065 or email: Andrew.Pryde@mbht.nhs.uk

2. Photographed: Photo 1 - Helen Wallace, Unit Manager on the SCBU at FGH photographed with Heather Wood, Matron for Children and Young People at FGH. Photo 2 - Dianne Smith, Dementia Matron at UHMBT. Photo 3 - Marina Woodburn; Care of the elderly team nurse; Stephen Newby; Care of the elderly team Occupational Therapist, Suzanne Shannon; Ward Manager, Lynn Dack; Matron for Surgery and Critical Care at UHMBT and Terry Thompson; Ward Manager.

3. The Unity Lottery is a common brand lottery jointly promoted by Sterling Management Centre, a registered External Lottery Manager, licensed by the Gambling Commission. Sterling Management Centre Limited, is an External Lottery Manager (ELM) registered with the Gambling Commission with over 30 years’ experience in running lotteries and raffles, and other charitable gaming and prize-led fundraising activities on behalf of charities, good causes and organisations within the UK. For further information, visit: http://www.sterlinglotteries.co.uk/about-us/