Harrogate District Hospital Pharmacy team ‘walk to New Zealand’ in aid of local NHS charity

Staff who run the Pharmacy at Harrogate District Hospital have walked the distance from Harrogate to Wellington, New Zealand – a total of 22,866km – in order to raise money for charity.

image of pharmacy team

The challenge began in February this year with the aim of reaching New Zealand by Easter and raising £1,200 in the process. Overall, 45 Pharmacy staff and family members took part in the challenge and together were able to achieve this ambitious goal in time, surpassing their fundraising target and reaching a fantastic £1,600.

The fundraisers totalled up the distance run/walked/cycled by each individual every week, finally reaching their goal after over a month of hard work. The money they raised will go to Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity who support colleagues, services and patients at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

Event organiser and Pharmacy Support Worker Elizabeth Gill said: “At a time when we are all stretched thin and Covid-19 has meant we can’t get together outside of work, we wanted to come together to challenge ourselves while raising money for our hospital charity. We decided to do the ultimate challenge and get to Wellington in New Zealand as this is the furthest capital from Harrogate and also a country which is Covid-free!

“I’m so proud of everyone and how hard we’ve all worked. Our fundraising total is over £1600 which is incredible!”

Yvonne Campbell, Head of Charity and Business Development Project Manager, said: “Everyone at Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity is blown away by the amount raised by our Pharmacy team and the effort they’ve put in to supporting us. Recently, money raised by our supporters funded some portable DVD players for inpatients to use to watch films on while they’re in hospital, so the money they raise will go a long way to supporting services, patients and fellow colleagues at the Trust.”

image showing total distance walked - 22866km

The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week (1-7 February) is ‘Express Yourself’ and the Emotional Health and Resilience team for Growing Healthy County Durham have been working with the community to help children and young people talk more about their feelings.

Throughout the week, the team has sent digital presentations into schools for virtual lessons on the theme to help children and young people find ways they can open up about their mental health. The team also gave these presentations to young carers and those being home educated to support any children and young people who are taught in settings other than schools.

The focus has been to provide positive tips for each day of the week, such as using ‘SMILERS’ – Socialise, Move, Interest, Look, Eat Well, Rest, Support – to remind themselves what tools they can use to improve mental health. They have also been talking with parents and carers about how they can assist their children and young people to better express themselves when dealing with challenging emotions.

The week ties in with Time to Talk day on Thursday 4 February, and Inside Out day on Wednesday 3 February, two national initiatives which aim to get people talking about mental health. In support, school children across County Durham wore an item of clothing inside out in order to promote the idea that how someone seems may not reflect what they are feeling on the inside.

Claire Birks, Emotional Health and Resilience Team Lead, said: “It is so important the community in County Durham, as in all communities across the country, can talk about mental health so that no one is embarrassed about how they feel or about getting conversations started.

“How someone looks on the outside doesn’t necessarily reflect how they are truly feeling on the inside, so this week, and at all times in our work, we are promoting kind and encouraging conversations and other ways of connecting.

“Covid-19 has changed everyone’s lives and the mental health impact of this new reality is significant. However, a brief chat about mental health has the power to make a difference.”

Find out how you can access the Emotional Health and Resilience team in your area on:




West Yorkshire-based cash plan provider Sovereign Health Care has donated £8,000 to Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust to help to support health and wellbeing for all their hardworking staff.

The funds will be used to help provide fruit boxes for staff and supportive resources to enable increased mental health and wellbeing. In addition, the Charity will be providing tailored exercise classes to colleagues to help improve their physical fitness. The very generous donation from Sovereign Health Care will enable the wellbeing offer in place for staff at this very difficult time.

The funds have been donated to the Trust’s charity, Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity.

Sovereign Health Care is one of the UK’s longest established health care cash plan providers. Their Community Programme has donated more than £9million in the past 13 years to support a wide range of charities and projects which benefit communities across Yorkshire, including over £2 million to NHS trusts in the region.

Angela Schofield, Chairman of Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very grateful to Sovereign Health Care for their generous donation of £8,000. This money will support staff health and wellbeing for the whole Trust, for example helping to roll out the exercise and healthy eating options programme.

“We have a long-standing, positive relationship with Sovereign Health Care and really value working together. A very big thank you to them for their continued support for our patients and staff, especially in what has been a very challenging year for everyone.”

Sovereign Health Care has no shareholders, so any surplus is available to reinvest into the business or donate to good causes, particularly those that help improve health and wellbeing and encourage people to live healthy lifestyles, such as the NHS. As well as its annual grants – which go towards hospital funding and nurse training programmes – Sovereign’s work fundamentally supports the NHS year-round, by helping people be more proactive about their health via its cash plans.

Russ Piper, Chief Executive of Sovereign Health Care, said:  “We have a long history of working with the NHS and we’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to support Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust for another year.

“2020 has been a very difficult year for all, and the NHS staff have been amazing putting their lives on the line to help save those of others – thank you for all your hard work.”

For more information about Sovereign Health Care’s Community Programme, visit www.sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/about/community-programme.

Growing Healthy teams from County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Darlington have come together (virtually) to share their adaptation of the classic Christmas song, reworked to describe different elements of the Growing Healthy services which support children, young people and families across the region.

The individuals and teams involved have recorded themselves singing the festive tune in tinsel and Santa hats and compiled the clips together to create the special Christmas video.

The idea came from the Emotional Resilience Team in County Durham, which was established in November this year as part of the new Growing Healthy County Durham 0-25 service launched on 1 September.

Since then, they have been working exceptionally hard to improve the emotional support on offer for children, young people and families across County Durham in what has been a difficult year for all. They have been working largely around bereavement and loss as well as returning to school, which has presented challenges for many young people recently.

Establishing these services in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the team needed to adapt their ways of engaging with those in need. As a result, they have delivered virtual sessions to schools, held online events, and offered support via WhatsApp and video calls, as well as their usual face-to-face appointments.

Emotional Resilience Nurse and Digital Lead for the service, Hayley Agnew, came up with the idea for the Growing Healthy version of The 12 Days of Christmas. She said: “We have worked so hard to set up the Emotional Resilience team in County Durham over the last few months and have seen a real need for the specialist support we offer. The drop-in sessions we have run in secondary schools have been largely full and we have been following up many of our virtual appointments with face-to face ones.

“Everybody on the team wants to make a difference and that’s where the drive to provide all the support we can has come from. It’s so important we stay connected to the children, young people and families we see which is why we have worked on setting up so many new and virtual means of accessing our services.

“The 12 Days of Christmas is a fun and festive way for us to share some little things about what Growing Healthy services as a whole offer, and is our way of wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.”

The Growing Healthy lyrics read:

  1. On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a nurse from growing healthy
  2. On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  3. On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  4. On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  5. On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  6. On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 6 toddlers toddling, 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  7. On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 7 mothers pushing, 6 toddlers toddling, 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  8. On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 8 jabs a giving, 7 mothers pushing, 6 toddlers toddling, 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  9. On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 9 fathers feeding, 8 jabs a giving, 7 mothers pushing, 6 toddlers toddling, 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  10. On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 10 routine check-ups, 9 fathers feeding, 8 jabs a giving, 7 mothers pushing, 6 toddlers toddling, 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  11. On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 11 carers caring, 10 routine check-ups, 9 fathers feeding, 8 jabs a giving, 7 mothers pushing, 6 toddlers toddling, 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and a nurse from growing healthy
  12. On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me 12 healthy children, 11 carers caring, 10 routine check-ups, 9 fathers feeding, 8 jabs a giving, 7 mothers pushing, 6 toddlers toddling, 5 babies born, 4 virtual clinics, 3 health promotions,2 screeners weighing and *we all support growing healthy

You can watch the teams’ rendition of their 12 Days of Christmas here: http://bit.ly/3nxEaUf

The 18 members of Class Three at Glasshouses Community Primary School in Nidderdale have completed a collective total of 24 hours of skipping, raising over £400 for Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity (HHCC).

The Year 5 and 6 pupils completed the skip during one afternoon at school; each student (and their teacher Mr Caswell) skipped non-stop for around one and a half hours on the playground, bringing them to an overall total of 24 hours skipping.

The idea came from the class Sports Leaders – Chloe and Daisy – who wanted the proceeds to go towards HHCC, which supports Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

Chloe said: “We chose to raise money for the NHS because we wanted to give back to them after all the hard work they have done keep our families safe this year.

Daisy said: “We loved the skipping challenge. We came together as a class including Mr Caswell and carried on even when we were tired. We feel very proud of our achievement.”

Sammy Lambert, Business Development, Charity and Volunteer Manager at HHCC, said: “This is a tremendous effort from the pupils at Glasshouses Community School and they should be very proud of themselves for completing the challenge they set themselves.

“Together, they raised a fantastic amount for HHCC and we cannot thank them enough for it; it will go towards improving the experience of our patients and their families who need care from teams across the Trust.

“From fundraising like this, we are able to support the refurbishments of wards such as the Woodlands children’s ward at Harrogate District Hospital.”

This awesome skipping challenge was incorporated into HHCC’s ‘Virtual Run Challenge’ which aimed to encourage the local community to get active and raise money for the local NHS throughout 2020. All of the children in Class Three received a ‘Virtual Run Challenge’ medal from the charity for their achievement in finishing the sponsored skip.

You can see them completing it here: https://bit.ly/389oWOu

Pine Street Allotments in Harrogate has faced up to the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic to raise £1,125 for Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity.

After the traditional open day at the height of the growing season was cancelled due to the pandemic, produce including onions, cauliflower, raspberries and rhubarb was sold over several weekends to plot holders and their families and friends. This raised £1,125 for the charity, which supports Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT).

Usually, Pine Street Allotments holds its open day at the height of the growing season to sell plot holders’ hand-grown produce to the general public in order to raise money for local charities. This year, Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity (HHCC) was chosen to be the main beneficiary of the event.

Pine Street Allotments is one of several allotment sites in the Harrogate area and consists of over 100 individual plots lovingly tended by local people keen to produce their own fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The site is managed by a committee of volunteers who chose the local NHS trust to donate to this year after all they have done to support the community through difficult times.

David Archbold, a spokesperson for the committee said: “Despite the added challenges we faced this year, we were so pleased that we managed to raise such a magnificent sum for a very worthy cause at a difficult time for everyone.”

Georgia Hudson, Community and Events Fundraiser for HHCC, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Pine Street Allotments for the hard work growing and selling their produce over a prolonged period, after the Open Day was cancelled.

“The money raised will provide HDFT with more opportunities to go above and beyond the care it provides to local communities and will ensure those accessing services at the Trust receive the highest possible care.

“Thanks to fundraisers such as Pine Street Allotments we have recently been able to purchase electronic tablets for patients staying on wards to stay in touch with their loved ones via video calls. This has become especially important now that visiting has once again been reduced at Harrogate District Hospital.”

Lily Whitehead, Treasurer of Pine Street Allotments, presents the cheque. Flanked by committee members David and Catherine Archbold.
Laura Lowther – book raffle organiser

Laura Lowther, a York-based trainee primary teacher, has organised a raffle to raise money for the Woodlands children’s ward at Harrogate District Hospital. The tickets to enter cost £5 and the prize for the winner is a £50 book voucher and book bundle.

Laura is aiming to raise an amazing £450 from the raffle, all of which will go directly to Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity (HHCC) towards the ongoing refurbishments on the Woodlands ward. The raffle winner will be drawn by a random generator.

As well as a trainee primary teacher, Laura is an Independent Usborne Organiser who independently sell the award-winning books through their own ‘pop-up bookshops’ and events.

She decided to use her platform to raise some money after spending a lot of time earlier this year as a visitor at the hospital while her dad was receiving care there following a stroke.

Laura said: “I am eternally grateful to the team involved in my dad’s care, as well as every NHS employee for their incredible work throughout this pandemic. Being a patient in hospital can be a scary time, so these developments of the children’s ward are really important in helping children and their families feel at ease during their time in hospital.

“Help me say thank you to Harrogate District Hospital and our fabulous NHS heroes.”

Georgia Hudson, HHCC Community and Events Fundraiser, said: “We are so grateful to Laura for taking the time to organise this raffle and work around the challenges that donating and fundraising during the Covid-19 pandemic bring.

“The money she raises will be a huge contribution to the children’s ward ongoing refurbishments which will go a long way to improving the care experience our children and families have.”

Find out more and get involved on Facebook here: https://bit.ly/3mcJ1Jz or by emailing Laura directly on [email protected].

A Harrogate Charge Nurse and armed forces veteran is supporting a national drive to understand more about how the NHS can improve health and wellbeing support for serving, reserve and veteran families in England.

John Williams, Charge Nurse on the Combined Assessment Team at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, is supporting this research as a veteran who served in both the Falklands War and the Gulf War.

Whilst most armed forces families enjoy healthy lives, the unique circumstances of military life, such as moving home every few years, can make accessing the NHS difficult and create added pressure for some.

The NHS is hoping to improve its services so that armed forces families are able to access support more easily across England. As well as this, it aims to ensure that those families caring for individuals injured in service get the care and support they need from clinicians and people who understand the armed forces.

John said: “I spent 10 years serving my country, saw active service in the Falklands in 1982 and was called up for the Gulf War in 1991. I was fortunate and came through the conflict without injury, however many of my comrades were not so fortunate. I think it is incumbent upon the NHS to recognise the sacrifices made by serving personnel and veterans and afford them prompt assessment and treatment.

“I have had occasion to seek NHS treatment as a result of hard physical training and exercises during my service. This has been recognised by clinicians and my treatment tailored to my needs. I believe that the NHS, as an all-inclusive organisation, believes in the service men and women who have served their country and should afford them the assessment and treatment that they deserve in a timely manner.”

Anyone can share their views, however the NHS is particularly keen to hear from serving, reserve and veteran families, people who are serving in or who have served in the British armed forces (regular and reserves) and organisations working with or supporting the armed forces community.

To find out more, and to get involved, please visit: https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/survey/health-and-wellbeing-support-armed-forces-families/. The deadline for responding is 30 November 2020.

Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate is teaming up with Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity (HHCC) to launch a gift appeal to support children, young people and families this Christmas.

The challenge of Covid-19 has had a huge financial impact on many families and the aim is to send gifts to support families who are facing difficulties this Christmas, adding some extra sparkle.

HHCC is the charity for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, which is the largest provider of 0-19 services (primarily health visiting and school nursing) in the UK.

Gifts will be delivered to children where the Trust provides these services including County Durham, Darlington, Gateshead, North Yorkshire, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland.

Members of the public are invited to get involved in the appeal and make donations of new unwrapped presents and toys. If you want to get involved please email [email protected] to find out more and where your local donation point is.

Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity and Volunteer Manager Sammy Lambert said: “We are very grateful for the kindness and generosity of the public in donating gifts for this year’s appeal. Our Health visitors and School Nurses have been working incredibly hard through the pandemic to support families across our region.

“This year has been particularly challenging for many and by donating a gift to families facing difficulty we hope to make their Christmas a little more special.

“We are grateful to Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate for choosing to support Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity in this great cause.”

Amy Martin, Chair of the Board at QE, said: “The events of this year have meant an increasing number of families facing a challenging time this Christmas. We are proud to support this gift appeal, organised by such a wonderful charity. We hope that our gifts bring a little extra Christmas joy to families who might need it.”

How to get involved?

Gifts for Children and Young People aged from birth to 19 years are needed and gender specific and gender-neutral gifts are welcomed. For further information and examples of gifts please visit: https://hhcc.co.uk/hhcc-events/qe-gift-appeal/

If you would like to donate to this appeal and to help spread a smile this Christmas, please contact the HHCC and Volunteer Team today; email: [email protected] or call 01423 557408.

A Harrogate-based pioneering exercise and activity service for patients with cancer has won the Excellence in Healthcare category of the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020 for the North East and Yorkshire.

Active Against Cancer (AAC) is part of Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, and was nominated for the innovative support it provides by incorporating exercise, health and wellbeing into the standard treatment plans offered to cancer patients. The service is adding to the growing body of scientific evidence of the health benefits of leading an active lifestyle.

Supporting service users from the start of their journey, the AAC team offers one-to-one assessment at the time of diagnosis, personalised prehabilitation programmes, maintenance programmes for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and personalised rehabilitation programmes when treatment has finished.

Based at Harrogate Sports and Fitness Centre, the service has intentionally cultivated an inviting, social space to encourage peer support and offer a diverse range of classes such as circuits, pilates, yoga, dance and walking. During the initial wave of Covid-19, the service continued to support patients remotely with video consultations and online classes. Since August, it has restarted face-to-face classes and continues to grow, supporting patients both with face-to-face classes in a Covid-safe environment and remotely.

AAC launched as a pilot in April 2019, and prior to Covid-19 was supporting approximately 380 face-to-face specialist exercise visits per week. Patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with an overall patient experience of 4.98/5 so far, with many patients going on to become volunteers and actively fundraise for the service.

The aim was that patients nationwide would be able to access something similar locally, with AAC acting as a blue print for other similar services to launch.

Emma Radcliffe, Lead Cancer Manager at the Trust and instrumental in getting Active Against Cancer up and running, said: “If exercise were a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient, and we are so proud of the progress our service users have made with Active Against Cancer.

“Winning this award is a testament to the dedication of everyone on the team, all of whom have had to adapt their ways of working recently to continue to provide excellent support to those accessing AAC.”

Andrew Jones MP for Harrogate, said: “Staying active when you are battling a serious illness can be difficult. It is however essential, particularly following a cancer diagnosis as the mental and physical health benefits of doing so are important for the long-term prognosis and recovery.

“Winning the Excellence in Healthcare Award is a great recognition of how Harrogate’s Active Against Cancer team support people living with cancer throughout their journey from diagnosis through to rehabilitation and life-long activity. It is part of the holistic approach to cancer treatment in our area, which has led to some of the best cancer care outcomes in the entire country. That is why thousands of people – people who have been helped through some of the most difficult times in their lives – will be celebrating alongside the team at the news of this much-deserved award.”

The national awards ceremony will take place at the Palace of Westminster in July 2021.