NHS Hero Captain Sir Tom Moore’s funds support North Devon District Hospital’s charity “Over and Above”

NATIONAL hero Captain Sir Tom Moore raised almost £33 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden.   The money is being distributed to NHS charities in stages through grants to support staff and patients through Covid-19.  North Devon District Hospital has so far received a magnificent £109,500 from the first stage of grants and there is more to follow.

Over and Above Fundraising Manager Ian Roome said “We were thrilled to receive this money and have used it to support  Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust in the the initial stages of this devasting pandemic.”

Over and Above is spending £50,000 towards a new staff shower block and lockers to reduce the risk of infection, and protect our staff and their families. This will also be available to staff who walk and cycle to work.

Staff outdoor seating area

Northern Devon Healthcare staff enjoying the staff outdoor area

The rest of the NHS grant funds has enabled the charity to support staff by building a dedicated permanent outdoor staff area – the staff now have their own space where they can  unwind and recuperate away from the demands of their front line pressures and have the opportunity to talk and support one another during this time.  Initially the charity provided a temporary facility in the Fern Cancer and Wellbeing Support Centre (when it was closed to patients during peak Covid19) and Project Wingman, a partnership with furloughed airline crews, created an airport lounge environment serving donated drinks and snacks, which was extremely well received.

Funds have also been used to train nurse leaders to take part in the Florence Nightingale Foundation nurse leadership course.  A smart TV has been purchased for staff to interact with remote teams through zoom and some of the funds have been used towards the safety and wellbeing of hospital volunteers.

Over and Above also used the funds to purchase two ipads to enable patients to communicate with their loved ones during Covid19.  These ipads played such an important role during lockdown – they were a social lifeline for patients and their families, and have evoked very special lasting memories.  Patient Experience Co-ordinator Lisa Townsend said “The ipads are being used regularly every day and we have been seeing “happy” tears from patients and their families because they can see their loved ones.  They’ve enabled families to reconnect and give support to one another when they have needed it most.”

Additional earphones were also purchased which enabled our inpatients to hear the TV during their stay, and an interactive board has been purchased to support our patients with dementia to help and encourage them to engage and reminisce, which has helped minimise wanderings and avoid breaching of social distancing rules.

Northern Devon’s cancer patients have also benefitted.  Many cancer patients expressed their concern at being “extremely vulnerable” and some need additional wellbeing support.  In the first instance the charity set up virtual support apps for patients, and some patients have designed the Fern Cancer and Wellbeing Centre social distancing garden though zoom during lockdown with a local designer.  The plans are awaiting final approval and works will be started shortly.

The NHS Together monies are making a difference to patients and staff at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, and the charity will soon be able to apply for the next phase of grants available.

Chairman of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, James Brent, said “We would like to thank Captain Sir Tom Moore for thinking of NHS charities when he completed his amazing fundraising feat. Thanks to Captain Tom, we have been able to put improvements in for our staff to support them as they continue to work through the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot thank him – and our staff – enough.”

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 and the charity’s Facebook page or contact the North Devon District Hospital Fundraising Team on 01271 311772 or email ndht.charity@nhs.net or email