People with learning disabilities and sensory impairments are being supported through the coronavirus epidemic with funding from the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.

Birmingham Community Healthcare Charity, which supports Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust, has spent part of its grant on residents at Kingswood Drive Care Home for those with complex care needs. They have received new sensory equipment, a camera for the activity group and relaxation CDs to soothe residents.

“The donations gratefully received at Kingswood Drive have enhanced the quality of the lives of our patients, who are currently unable to access community-based activities or receive visits from friends and family. The items received have added meaningful value to patients’ daily experience of life under lockdown, and enhanced engagement opportunities daily. Opportunities to socially interact with the wider community have been postponed and all in-house activities now hold extra value to both patients and staff, the donations received have helped enhance those personal one to one encounters.”

Helena Ordish, Manager of Kingswood Drive

Essentials for staff

The Charity’s grant has also funded ‘Pantries’ which were established at the height of the crisis in several locations so staff and volunteers can pick up free essentials before or after a shift. Staff are also benefitting from Take-a-Break kits containing tea, coffee, snacks and hand cream along with wellbeing packs, thanks to the appeal.

Helping the patients

About 100 patients per week are discharged without access to food and essentials and the grant has provided parcels of essential food and toiletries for those who live alone or will be self-isolating to last until ongoing support is arranged. The funding has also provided inpatients with extra entertainment such as TVs, radios, DVDs and CDs, in addition to Positivity Packs containing games, puzzles and crafts to alleviate boredom and boost morale. Sleepwear and leisurewear has also been bought so patients are able to move about freely on the wards and feel a level of home comfort. Hand-decorated Comfort Pebbles have been donated to the charity so patients with communication difficulties can receive a message via the pebble and hold as a comfort during this time of separation.

Supporting the Charity

The lockdown has had a dramatic effect on the charity’s income due to fundraising events being postponed.  Angela Corry, Charity Campaign Manager, said: “We are a small NHS charity and this national campaign has enabled us to make such a difference for our staff, patients and volunteers. We have been an active charity for just over four years and are a small team of three supporting a nearly 5,000 strong NHS workforce. Being able to access the funding has meant we have been able to offer the same level of support for our staff and volunteers that larger NHS charities do.”

Urgent Appeal Grants

Grants given to NHS charities are used to meet the immediate and urgent needs of patients, staff and volunteers. Funding is also going towards helping partnerships outside hospitals, such as hospices, community healthcare and social care, making sure patients leaving hospital have access to the care they need to recover. In the longer term it will also fund programmes to help staff and volunteers recover fully once the crisis has abated, reducing the long-term impact on them and the people they care about.

About the Urgent Appeal

The NHS Charities Together Urgent Appeal acknowledges and supports NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients. It has been put together in liaison with NHS England and national bodies, our member NHS charities and national giving platforms. Click here to donate.