THE 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 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.

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.

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.

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.”