Staff honoured by Hospital Friends for pandemic work

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Honours: Gill Wood, Senior Sister Tarrant Ward, Di Sale Friends Secretary, Mac McLaughlin Friends President, Sharon Munday Activities Co-ordinator Tarrant Ward, at the presentation of NHS Dorset lapel badges to staff at Blandford Community Hospital
Honours: Gill Wood, Senior Sister Tarrant Ward, Di Sale Friends Secretary, Mac McLaughlin Friends President, Sharon Munday Activities Co-ordinator Tarrant Ward, at the presentation of NHS Dorset lapel badges to staff at Blandford Community Hospital

By Nicci Brown

The Friends of Blandford Community Hospital are continuing to support the hospital and local community, but have had to adapt activities in line with the Government’s legislation, impacting both on services and trading activity.

The trustees say the ongoing impact of the pandemic is the most significant risk currently facing the charity.

The receipt of two large legacies during the year ended March 2021 more than offset reductions in donations, Gift Aid, memberships (which have dropped from 884 to 756) and other trading income when the charity shops closed and fundraising activities were cancelled.

An increase of over a million pounds over the previous year is recorded in their annual report, published after the AGM was cancelled in July, shows an increase of over a million pounds over the previous year. But the reductions are expected to continue to have a significant impact on income in the current year, and the trustees say the ongoing impact of the covid-19 pandemic is the most significant risk currently facing the charity.

The report welcomed the completion in May last year of the Musculoskeletal Suite project to which the Friends have committed £300,000, enabling patients to be supported in a local ‘one stop shop’ instead of having to visit other facilities. And they again supported Life Education Wessex and funded a councillor helping children who are experiencing difficulty at The Blandford School. Total spending last year on charitable activities amounted to £60,639, including that on the hospital, the minibus and community volunteers scheme, and contributions to health related projects within the wider community. The main project in the coming year will be upgrading the old operating theatre into a new, modern treatment facility.

On September 1, they presented members of the staff with North Dorset NHS lapel badges, thanking them all for their dedication and hard, long hours given to the hospital during the covid pandemic.

The charity shops are now back open, and the hospital car service is also up and operating but Friends president Mac McLaughlin said the pandemic has had an effect on their numbers of volunteers in both shops and car drivers.

He said: “At present, our minibus shopping and “days out” trips is on hold until social distancing regulations are eased. We would very much welcome new volunteers for all activities, and new members since membership has fallen during the lockdown period.”

To find out more about the charity, joining or volunteering, see the website friendsofblandford.org.uk.

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