LYMINGTON Hospital Friends has set up a special donation scheme through which people and business can support local NHS staff dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
Formerly known as the League of Friends of Lymington New Forest Hospital, the charitable organisation supports the hospital and is run by a voluntary board of trustees.
They ensure money pledged is put to the best use at the Ampress hospital while it also has 130 volunteers who help out.
However, amid the government lockdown it has been forced to close the shop and cafe it runs at the hospital and halt the trolley, guiding and ward services it offers.
Instead it is promoting an appeal for donations to support frontline staff and their needs, wellbeing and morale. The money will also provide facilities identified by the hospital that can improve the comfort of patients at a time of restricted visiting.
Joint chair of trustees, Mike Hodges, said: “Some of the practical things we have arranged so far include supplies of tea and coffee for the staff, five new fridges for staff on the wards, camp beds for overnight stays and mobile phones for patients to speak to relatives and friends when they call.
“We have begun to contact local companies asking for their help in supporting the hospital – for example, Waitrose Lymington have donated fruit and ready meals for staff.
“With your support, the Friends are planning a weekly takeaway meal to be delivered for staff to maintain their morale and wellbeing during these challenging times.”
The charity said it will keep its website updated with news about hospital services, visiting arrangements and progress with the appeal.
Arthur England, joint chair of trustees, said people can donate online at www.lymingtonhospitalfriends.org and adding Gift Aid will increase donations by 25p for every £1 given.
“You can also donate by texting LYMHF to 70970 to donate £5 or LYMHF to 70191 to donate £10. We have a goal to develop a community of 1,000 Friends across our area and you can use the simple online form to become a Friend,” he said.
“Companies or individuals wishing to make a donation of goods or services please email firstname.lastname@example.org together with your phone number and we will get back to you.
“We really value your support for our hospital and dedicated staff.”
The push was backed by New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne, who said: “People will be very aware that the rapid spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) is significantly increasing pressure on hospital services and it will be a very great challenge for hardworking NHS frontline and support staff.
“I encourage you to donate to Lymington Hospital Friends’ new ‘supporting your local hospital’ appeal to help them provide much needed additional support for Lymington hospital, its staff and patients.”