STARR team smash fundraising target at annual SHINE fundraiser

Posted: 19/10/23

Five members of the STARR team smiling at the camera

Debbie Potter has worked in the NHS for 37 years, previously as a nurse and now as an Activities Facilitator in the Social, Therapeutic and Recreational Rehabilitation (STARR) team in Walkergate Park.

The STARR team provides social and recreational rehabilitation to inpatients, working to promote independence and increase quality of life. The team also regularly organise events and provide additional wellbeing activities using funding from the Trust’s SHINE charity, and often choose to fundraise so that they can ‘give back’ and help continue to support patient wellbeing across the Trust.

The funding was particularly important during the Covid pandemic due to patients being unable to leave the site for outings. Resources were brought in for patients to enjoy, these included creating a garden area with a gazebo which was requested by patients who longed to enjoy the garden and outdoor space with their families. Other materials purchased throughout the years include barbeques and pizza ovens for outdoor spaces, a sensory room and remote sensory equipment, craft supplies, cooking equipment and gaming devices.

The team have organised a big fundraising event every summer for the past seven years. The idea arose from family members of patients who were particularly impacted by the work of the STARR team and would ask how they could donate.

We wanted to do something really special to bring together as many of our service users and family members as we could on one big day.

Debbie PotterActivities Facilitator

The amounts raised at the fairs have increased year on year, having started with a few hundred pounds over the first few years. The team didn’t expect to raise as much money as previous years due to financial constraints, however they were pleasantly surprised when they found that they had raised an incredible £2023, “not only did we beat last year’s target, we smashed it!”

“I can’t say enough about Walkergate Park, the staff here are just incredible. When you think they’ve got nothing more to give, they find more,” says Debbie.

The day brings together patients from across the site and their family members and friends. There’s live music, food and activities available for everyone to enjoy, including a raffle with prizes donated by staff who work on the site as well as local businesses that support the event.

“We had people sat outside on the grass with family members listening to music, having a picnic… they can forget for that day that they’re somewhere where they can’t go home.”

Debbie shares that putting on the event is hard work for the small STARR team, but that it’s really gratifying.

“Listening to the reports back from family members” … “saying they’ve gone in to see family, spent a day with them and had an amazing time and lovely food, lovely company, listening to music, it’s so massive to them.”

When asked what she would tell someone thinking of fundraising for SHINE, Debbie said “it makes a difference to people’s lives and once you see the difference it makes to your patients you understand the importance of that fundraising and what it can give to them, because their lives have been changed dramatically.”

You can give someone a glimmer of hope… you can say to people ‘life does continue, and things can be good’ and that’s what SHINE enables us to do.

Debbie PotterActivities Facilitator

When asked if she had any advice for people thinking of organising a fundraiser, Debbie said “people are frightened of it not succeeding and I get that, but it’s sometimes best to just give it a try. Because if you don’t give it a go you’ll never know, and I think people would be amazed at how many people want to give and help.”

Debbie says the activities and extras from SHINE make a huge difference to patients’ experience whilst at Walkergate Park. “You can give someone a glimmer of hope… you can say to people ‘life does continue, and things can be good’ and that’s what SHINE enables us to do.”

“I remember someone saying to me a long time ago ‘happy people get better quicker’. That has always stuck with me.”

The marketing team are happy to support anyone who is thinking of fundraising for SHINE, you can get in touch with the team by emailing [email protected]. Staff who are interested in fundraising can access tips and advice, and a toolkit of materials and templates on the staff intranet SHINE page. The STARR team are also happy to be contacted by colleagues for advice on fundraising and planning events.

To find out more about SHINE, visit or email [email protected]