Connecting with technology, wellbeing packs, and more – how we’ve spent £134,000 from national COVID-19 charity appeal

Posted: 28/08/20

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s charity The SHINE Fund, which uses donations to provide the ‘little extras’ that make a big difference to people’s recovery, has recently received £50,000 from NHS Charities Together’s national COVID-19 appeal, taking the total the Trust has received from the appeal to a staggering £134,000.

This appeal has seen amazing public support, raising a total of over £130,000,000 so far which has been distributed to NHS organisations across the country. The appeal got a particular boost when Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the nation’s hearts by walking laps of his garden to raise money in the run-up to his 100th birthday in April.

The money received from this fund was vital in the early stages of lockdown, as it allowed us to purchase tablet computers and other equipment to enable inpatients to stay connected with friends and family while visiting was suspended. We were also able to loan some tablets to service users in the community who didn’t have equipment to use for video calls, allowing them to continue maintaining their appointments with clinicians virtually.

TVs, DVD players, music players and games consoles were purchased to help patients stay entertained while lockdown restricted the usual range of activities on offer for them. When a Trustwide photography competition was launched (with the winners set to be exhibited at galleries across our four localities), we were able to purchase cameras to help more patients and staff take part.

The funds also helped us to provide many sundries to enhance teams’ ability to offer therapeutic activities. The ‘wobble rooms’, where staff could take a break and cope with the challenges of working through the conditions COVID-19 brought about, were well-stocked with refreshments, tissues and other small items to help people relax. Craft items and jigsaws were purchased for the Trust’s Occupational Therapy teams and this enabled the teams to have items to undertake increased activities on wards.

A staggering 19,000 items were also purchased and sent out as part of ‘wellbeing packs’ distributed to inpatients and community patients across the Trust. These packs included puzzles and colouring books, pencils, essential toiletries, chocolates and other treats, and tea, coffee and milk, all intended to lift the spirits of patients and make life a little easier as they faced lockdown.

Ailsa Miller, Patients Finance and Cashiers Manager at CNTW who oversees The SHINE Fund, said: “We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has kindly supported The SHINE Fund and the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 appeal this year. Your generosity has made a huge difference in helping us to support our patients and service users through this difficult time.”

Read more about The SHINE Fund.