The Friends at Broomfield Hospital provides a range of services to the hospital including a newspaper trolley service, library and of course the “Hospital Shop”. All of these services are organised and run by volunteers, and all of the profits generated are given back to the hospital for the purchase of equipment requested by medical staff.
Last year the Friends donated almost £40,000 to fund specialist medical equipment and other benefits and support for patients. In 2010 it was nearly £40,000 and in 2009 nearly £52,000. The group of about 50 volunteers run two small retail shops at the hospital, one in the new atrium development and another close to the entrance of the South Wing.
Both shops sell a wide range of goods, from sandwiches to newspapers and greetings cards. A daily trolley service also makes sure that patients and visitors are given the opportunity to shop. Other patient comforts are supported with a library service, again operated from a trolley service.
It’s the income from these services that is donated to benefit patients. Friends’ treasurer Allan Hodson estimates that during the 60 years more than £1 million has been donated and hes still counting. Allan, who regularly wheels the retail trolley around the wards, said: “In the early days the donations were of course much less than today but they still made a big difference.
The team of volunteers are organised by manager Barbara Coupe and Jenny Gillingham who manage the shops, they have both been dedicated volunteers for many years. They co-ordinate the rotas of volunteers keep the shops open six days a week and the trolley service rolling seven days a week.
Barbara said: We are really lucky to have such a terrific team of volunteers. The work is rewarded by what it achieves for all the patients and on top of that we all really enjoy what we do.