What a year!   Local Tesco stores across North Devon have pulled out all the stops to support the Cancer and Wellbeing Centre Appeal in 2018.

This year, Tesco went for it, guns blazing … our local North Devon Tesco Stores organised football tournaments, family fun days, book sales, a quiz, so many raffles the fundraisers lost count – not just the excellent Easter, Summer and Christmas luxurious hamper raffles which are sold at the hospital, but also raffles in their stores.  They organised in-store collections, the list goes on.  In addition the Bideford Store raised £4,000 from the Tesco Bags for Help Scheme towards counselling equipment, Braunton raised £2,000 for kitchen equipment and Ilfracombe raised £2,000 for sofas and chairs which will go in the new Centre.

AT the end of the year in 2018 their fundraising totalled a FANTASTIC £19,262.18, bringing their overall 5 year to a phenomenal £72,552.85.  Every penny has been used to support local patients in North Devon.  In addition to this, Tesco’s Community Champions offer and man the refreshment stall at the Trust’s regular Health and Wellbeing Days which support around 50 patients and their families.

Over and Above Senior Fundraising Office, Julie Whitton said “Tesco are awesome.  I know I say it over and over, but truly they really do give back to our local community so that we can provide the very care that we can give to our patients in North Devon.  So far the Appeal has raised over £750,000, and we are looking forward to a very busy and exciting year ahead as we push to get the building started this year. We know this centre is needed – I have lost count the number of times I have seen patients looking shocked after a diagnosis.  They often sit in the coffee shop or restaurant, not drinking or eating, just trying to absorb the information they have just been given.  The last thing they want to do at that moment is to get in the car and drive home.   The new Centre’s drop in facility will provide a refuge for those patients; it will give them a place to sit, time to gather their thoughts and a place to talk to a kind and caring volunteer who will listen in a friendly, welcoming environment.  This is the time our patients need our support.  We will have a wide range of leaflets available in the Centre so they can find out more about their condition and we will be able to signpost our patients to local support groups, many of whom will meet in the new Centre.  I truly can’t wait for this new Centre to be built because it will make such a difference to the lives of many.”

“We have been extremely fortunate to have the overwhelming support of our local Tesco stores.  They really have gone ‘OVER AND ABOVE’ for us.  The managers and their community champions have visited the hospital many times and have seen how their fundraising has benefited our patients.  They also know how important this new Cancer Support Centre will be to their customers in North Devon – a sanctuary where our patients can go when they need it most.”

The new Cancer & Wellbeing Centre will be built this year to support all patients living with and beyond cancer.  Services will include a drop in facility, make up and look good sessions which show our patients how to draw on their eyebrows and tie a headscarf so that they feel comfortable in going out the door and continuing to live their lives.  The Centre will offer nutritional advice, counselling and when they need it most a massage in a relaxing non-clinical environment.

If you would like to give your support to the hospital charity Over and Above, or want to find out more please visit www.overandabove.org.uk or the charity’s facebook page. Alternatively you contact the North Devon District Hospital Fundraising Team on 01271 311772 / email ndht.charity@nhs.net