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All about NCH&C’s Charitable Fund

All about NCH&C's Charitable Fund

Did you know that there are over 240 NHS charities around the UK? While some of them are well-known, such as the Great Ormand Street Children’s Hospital Charity, most exist to help our local NHS trusts do more for their patients and staff.

Although NCH&C’s own Charitable Fund has existed since 1995, it has undergone a bit of a transformation in the last year. In 2020, Carol Plunkett was appointed as the new Charity Development and Project Manager, and Tracy Harvey joined as Charity Administrator and Finance Officer. The charity also launched a new-look logo and brand.

We chatted to Carol to find out more about the Charitable Fund, and how it supports the work at NCH&C.

This article originally appeared in Your Community: NCH&C’s staff magazine. 

What is the Charitable Fund?

NCH&C’s Charitable Fund is a registered charity that raises money to benefit the patients of Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust. We use donations to enhance patient experiences of our services that are above and beyond those funded by the NHS and therefore make a genuine difference to patients, their families and carers, and the trust’s volunteers and staff.

Most of our donations come from grateful patients who have received care from NCH&C, or their families. These may be one-off donations, or donations made in memory or legacy. We also receive support from local community groups or businesses.

What sort of things can the Charitable Fund provide?

The Charitable Fund can pay for/towards a range of items and facilities to support patients and staff.

Our support helps enhance patient environments, improving their stay in our community hospitals. We’ve funded specialist equipment to create dementia-friendly wards, installing additional signage, calendar clocks, and coloured eating equipment to help patients feel comfortable, safe and empowered.

We have also refurbished visitor rooms, including adding beds for overnight stays, and created beautiful gardens and rooms to allow patients to relax away from the wards, which aids rehabilitation and recuperation.

Throughout 2020, the Charitable Fund has increased its funding for staff wellbeing. During the hot summer months, we funded cooling towels to help staff keep comfortable during their shifts, as well as benches so staff can enjoy some fresh air on their breaks. We also provided loads of refreshments and toiletries to thank staff for their hard work and keep them going. In 2021, we’re funding Mental Health First Aider training across the trust to help build up resilience.

And what can the Charitable Fund not provide?

We cannot fund anything that should be an NHS funding core provision. That means we can’t pay for things like essential maintenance, mandatory training, social functions, staffing costs, uniform, or routine clinical equipment and supplies.

What should staff do if they want to access funding from the Charitable Fund?

The Charity can be a good source of funding for innovative and new ways of delivering services. If these prove to be successful and beneficial to our patients, these may be covered by NHS funding in the future.

While we welcome requests from staff for funding, we encourage teams to speak to us before committing to any plans or making purchases. We want to help as many people as possible and avoid disappointment!

You can find more guidance about the Charitable Fund on our webpage and Intranet page, as well as links to all the necessary forms you’ll need to complete to apply for funding.

If you need assistance with the application process, or you have a general question, please do get in touch.

How else can staff support the Charitable Fund?

If a patient, their family, or another individual expresses a wish to donate to the trust, direct them to the Charitable Fund’s Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving pages. Alternatively, you can send any cheque or cash donations to us for processing. Please let us know what the donor wanted the donation to go towards.

NCH&C colleagues can also get involved by helping to fundraise for the Charitable Fund. Last year, staff fundraisers raised over £3,000. Fundraising for their own wards and teams allows them to see the impact of their fundraising every day.

Anything else staff need to know?

While the trust’s anti-bribery policy outlines that staff may not accept gifts, staff can accept donated items on behalf of the Charitable Fund. If you are donated any item or goods free of charge (such as refreshments, face masks, etc), please let us know so that we can record a register of gifts in kind on behalf of the trust and ensure it is managed appropriately.

Likewise, any cash donations must be handled by the Charitable Fund. Staff cannot make their own purchases with cash donations, even if it is for the benefit of patients or colleagues. Although there are some rules around how donations are accepted and used, these are in place to keep things fair and legitimate for both the trust and the Charitable Fund.

If you have any questions about how we operate, or suggestions on how we can better engage with the trust, please get in touch.

Email or follow us on Twitter @NCHC_CF.