The Big Tea brews up chance to help Bay Hospitals charity

Next week people all over the country join in with The Big Tea, a national celebration of the 73rd birthday of the NHS.

By Michelle Blade
Thursday, 1st July 2021, 11:43 am

And for one local charity, the Big Tea offers an opportunity to raise further funds but more importantly to reflect on the health service’s place in the community.

Bay Hospitals Charity is the official charity linked to University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, helping to ensure that patients of Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Westmorland General Hospital and Furness General Hospital, and the Trust’s community services, are comfortable and have access to the most up to date equipment.

The charity funds a huge range of equipment for the Trust with purchases in recent months including mobile ECG devices, specialist furniture, and even illuminated ceiling panels to provide a calming environment for patients undergoing procedures.

Bay Hospitals Charity Manager Judith Read

Charity Manager Judith Read said: “The charity’s work is dedicated to enhancing the experience of UHMBT patients and staff.

“We are able to work with clinical staff and patients to understand what would improve their time either as a patient or a staff member and provide funding to make their ideas a reality.

“None of it would be possible without our amazing fundraisers and donors who support us every step of the way.

“Many of those who support our fund-raising do so because they want to say thank you to the NHS for the care they have received. It can be an emotional place to work, but it’s a pleasure to be a part of it.”

Numerous sponsored events and activities raise thousands for the charity each year. A team of colleagues from UHMBT recently completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks to support a new mobile sensory unit on the Children’s Ward at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The role of charity in the NHS was brought to the public eye like never before when Captain Sir Tom Moore’s sponsored walk early in the Covid-19 pandemic raised more than £30 million.

That money was given to NHS Charities Together, the central NHS charity body, which distributed the funds to local NHS charities around the country.

With NHS staff under unprecedented pressure due to the pandemic, much of the money was dedicated to staff welfare initiatives.

Judith said: “It’s hard to put into words how important Captain Tom has been to the NHS charity movement. As well as inspiring an absolutely staggering number of donations, he was able to help us to look after the welfare of the Trust’s staff teams during an extremely challenging period.

Dental Nurse Julie Atkin, Receptionist Hilary Freedman, Dental Nurse Anne Hughes and Senior Dental Nurse Cecily Pike enjoying the new outdoor furniture at the Maxillofacial Department at Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

“For example, at Bay Hospitals Charity we were able to use some of the money he raised for a wide range of initiatives including improving outdoor spaces to provide safe, comfortable areas for staff breaks, and funding a wellness check campaign for colleagues that will monitor health markers such as Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol, blood pressure, diet and exercise, and help people to access appropriate support services.

“I feel proud of the impact the charity has had during this period and very grateful for the huge contribution Captain Tom made for the NHS.”

As the UK emerges from the pandemic, the charity is now looking to the future.

Judith said: “We have received so many generous donations and gifts in the last year and a half, but it has been a challenging period for our volunteers and organised events have had to be cancelled or put on hold.

“Raising money is obviously very important to us, but we’re also looking forward to getting back to the community spirit that Bay Hospitals Charity creates.

“People are so passionate about supporting their local hospitals and their enthusiasm makes all the difference.”

Lancaster midwife Claire Metcalfe recently redecorated delivery rooms at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and raised funds for the charity through a series of live video talks sharing her knowledge and experience of pregnancy and childbirth. Claire said: “I love walking into work knowing that contributions from local people have helped to make the experience of being in hospital as comfortable as possible.

“Bay Hospitals Charity is such an amazing cause that makes such a positive difference to all of us.”

Members of the UHMBT board are also Trustees of Bay Hospitals Charity.

Trust Chair Prof Mike Thomas said: “This year’s Big Tea is a good opportunity to reflect on the contribution the NHS makes to all of our lives as well as the role of charity in supporting NHS services.

“Bay Hospitals Charity works behind the scenes to support patients and colleagues in our hospitals and help to enhance the experience of everyone who passes through our doors.

“Donations made to the charity make a tangible difference to local hospitals that are at the heart of our communities.”

Big Tea events will be held across the country on Monday July 5. Whether you’re a business, a school, a community group or just a bunch of friends, the Big Tea offers a chance to enjoy a cuppa and a chat while raising funds to ensure University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust patients get the best possible care and treatment.

*There is still time to register your event by emailing [email protected]