Each quarter, our charity, The Hospital Saturday Fund holds a Grant Making Committee (GMC) meeting. The purpose of these meetings is for the Committee Members to consider the many charity grant applications, and decide upon recipients together. The importance is that it ensures a broad variety of charities supporting different causes, sizes and geographic locations are selected for grants.
Typically, a different HSF health plan staff member usually attends each meeting, which provides a fantastic opportunity to see how the profits from our trading arm are distributed back into the community via our grant-making.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we took a few months’ hiatus from our normal grant-making. Instead of our typical approach, we decided that we needed to provide assistance
to those that were most at risk during the crisis. As a result, from April till June, The Hospital Saturday Fund ended up providing grants to 102 charities and hospices, many of whom required support towards funding PPE for staff and volunteers.
On August 25th, we held our first GMC meeting since January. The award of a large grant went to six organisations in total, two of which were from the UK, and four from Ireland. One of the UK-based charities that received a grant from us included FitzRoy, an organisation specialising in transforming the lives of people with learning disabilities. The £9,155 grant is to go towards funding pulse oximeters and non-contact/infrared thermometers for all of their care homes.
The history of FitzRoy dates back nearly 60 years, when it was founded by Elizabeth FitzRoy and John Williams. Elizabeth’s son, Michael, had Down’s Syndrome and she wanted him to be able to do the things he loved and be part of the community. Similarly, John’s son Huw had severe learning disabilities, and he and his wife were determined not to put him into an institution.
In 1962, Elizabeth and John’s vision for doing things differently was first realised, through the purchase of Donec (their first ever care home) in Surrey. Through delivering support within a family-style home, this way of practice paved the way for a new approach to care, and transformed the future for Michael, Huw, and future generations to come.
Fast-forward to today, FitzRoy now has a workforce consisting of 1,500 staff, supporting people across 15 countries. Within the UK, FitzRoy currently assists 850 people with learning disabilities and autism across 15 counties in 78 services in England, including Birmingham, Sussex and Hampshire. The homes all offer comfortable accommodation and 24-hour support, all towards encouraging beneficiaries to live their lives as independently as possible.
When HSF’s John Greenwood and Paul Jackson went to present the cheque to Anna Galliford, FitzRoy Chief Executive, she explained the catastrophic toll that Coronavirus has had on their sector. Because FitzRoy supports some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society, she mentioned that they also made the decision to go into lockdown a week before the government advised for care homes to do so.
Although it was a great challenge, luckily for the charity, they were able to re-deploy an existing staff member to dedicated PPE procurement. The additional equipment that will be purchased with the grant from The Hospital Saturday Fund, will also be an important addition to FitzRoy’s ongoing Coronavirus safety measures.
Another UK-based charity that we awarded a grant to in August included Lewis Manning Hospice. They were provided £6,349 towards the purchase of a lymph scanner and a lymphflow advance pump for their Lymphodema Clinic.
The organisation works towards assisting people with life-limiting illnesses and their families across East Dorset. The key intention of the charity is to promote acceptance, hope and peace of mind, when it comes to helping people live well through their illnesses. These ideas are demonstrated through a range of free services available, including their Day Hospice, Lymphoedema Clinic, Better Breathing Clinic, and Creative Arts and Wellbeing Support Group.
The Lymphoedema Clinic at Lewis Manning specifically provides treatment and support to people who are dealing with Lymphoedema. This is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues, affecting any part of the body, but commonly the arms or legs. This is an important issue to treat with it taking a toll on the lymphatic system, an area of the body which helps fight infection and remove excess fluid.
Whilst there is no cure for lymphoedema, managing the primary symptoms consist of using approaches towards minimising fluid build-up and stimulating its flow. Without the equipment that is going to be purchased with help from our grant, patients would be requiring physical massage from a nurse, something that cannot be performed under current Coronavirus controls.
To learn more about FitzRoy, visit: https://www.fitzroy.org/
To learn more about Lewis Manning Hospice, visit: https://lewis-manning.co.uk/