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Staff across the Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust hospitals have been overwhelmed by donations from their local communities and businesses in response to COVID-19.
Donations include food, drink, money and personal protective equipment.
Items are being coordinated and distributed by the official Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity, which was established on April 1 when the three hospitals merged to become a new NHS organisation. Previously the sites had separate charities.
The benefits of working together as one team while retaining roots in each community have been evident in the charity’s response to the pandemic.
Lucy Clayton-Thomas, the charity’s director, said: “Every single donation boosts staff morale – no matter how big or small it is.”
It has been an extraordinary start for the charity but Lucy says that her colleagues have been inspired by both the commitment of hospital staff and the generosity and imagination of the community.
It’s not just physical donations that have been received. More than one hundred new volunteers have come forward to support the hospitals help staff on the frontline.
“With so many donations coming in and no sign of the community’s enthusiasm waning, we are rising to the challenge of making sure the donations give the greatest possible benefit to staff and patients. It is not always possible to acknowledge every donation but we do appreciate each and every one.”
Cash donations have been used to fund projects such as:
- Care packs with snacks and toiletries for staff on the frontline working intensively to care for patients
- Wellbeing resources
- Establishing staff rest areas so staff can take a break and relax
- Alternative transport to and from work – such as a taxi or a minibus
- Purchasing I-pads and tablets to add to those donated by individuals and companies for use by patients to communicate with their loved ones.
The Mid and South Essex Foundation NHS Trust is very grateful to everyone who has donated so far and would urge those who can continue to support the hospital’s charity to do so. Funds will be used for the benefit of patients during the pandemic and beyond.
Lucy said: “We didn’t expect our strength as a new organisation to be tested so quickly. We have clearly seen how much stronger we are together during this difficult time.”
“The new charity exists to fund equipment and to support services and staff while improving patient care at MSEFT throughout the year. This will be achieved through the regular fundraising events that communities have become used to as well as new larger regional events to unite our hospitals and local communities across Mid and South Essex. “