Patients, carers and NHS staff across the North East and North Cumbria are set to benefit from a grant that will improve services across eight projects aiming to support the long-term recovery of both patients and staff impacted by Covid.
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a leading provider of mental health and disability services, has been awarded a grant of £154,000 from NHS Charities Together.
The funding will be awarded to the Trust’s SHINE charity, which helps support people accessing mental health, learning disabilities and neuro-rehabilitation services by providing the extra things that can make a real difference.
The services gaining from the funding are CNTW’s Children and Young People’s Services, and the adult autism inpatient services, as well as bereavement support for staff provided by the Trust’s Staff Psychological Centre, and support for the carers of children and young people.
Sharon Brennan, marketing manager at CNTW, said: ‘We are delighted to have received the NHS Charities Together funding which will greatly benefit our service users and healthcare staff, and we can’t wait to get the projects underway.’
The projects include improving sensory rooms in children and young people’s inpatient wards, which will support individuals with socialisation, sensory motor skills, cognitive development, and relaxation and recovery. A fully equipped sensory room will provide an alternative space for therapeutic sessions away from the ward environment.
The service will also benefit from gardening equipment, improvements to dining areas, gym equipment and the use of sessional workers who give opportunities to access community engagement, educational skills, and help to reduce isolation.
These projects have all been informed by feedback from service users and staff. Young people have said how much they have enjoyed growing flowers and vegetables; more gardening space will allow them to take ownership of projects and to relax and enjoy nature.
Young people also reported that some dining areas feel clinical. The funding will go towards a mural designed by a local artist, to make the dining area a more welcoming space.
Families and carers will also benefit from the grant. Money will be used for events to promote family inclusion and build relationships between carers, patients and staff. Wellness packs will also be created for families and carers to support their wellbeing during what can be a stressful time.
Outdoor gyms will be created at Rose Lodge at Hopewood Park and Mitford at Northgate Hospital, part of the Trust’s autism services. There are significant health inequalities among autistic adults. Not only are they at significantly higher risk of being underweight, obese or experiencing chronic disease, but typically engage in less exercise than the general population. Providing outdoor gym facilities will help address these inequalities.
The funding will also allow for an additional post in CNTW’s Staff Psychological Centre to support staff who have been bereaved. Additional support and signposting to appropriate services, will in turn, enable staff to feel heard and provide the best possible care to service users.
Ellie Orton OBE, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said: ‘We are thrilled to be supporting children, young people, families, carers and staff accessing mental health, learning disabilities and neuro-rehabilitation services in the North East and North Cumbria through this funding. We hope this extra support we will make a real difference to them and ease some of the pressures these NHS services are under as a result of the pandemic.’
This grant is one of many thousands of awards made by NHS Charities Together thanks to its COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, which raised a massive £162 million.
NHS Charities Together is the national independent charity caring for the NHS. It works with a network of NHS charities across the UK to help the NHS go further for staff and patients. The projects will begin in November 2023 and will run for two years.