Volunteers left 'heartbroken' as Friends of Peterborough City Hospital set to cease activities at the site

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Friends of Peterborough Hospital has been supporting care in the city for 75 years.

Volunteers at Friends of Peterborough City Hospital have spoken of their heartbreak as the charity is set to depart the hospital at the end of the month.

The Friends charity celebrates its 75th anniversary of supporting acute health care in the city in 2023 but has also chosen this year to close its charity shop at the site.

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Trustees of the charity have cited a decrease in footfall and therefore profitability of the shop as the reasoning behind the decision.

The volunteer service is set to end this month, the Peterborough Telegraph understands.The volunteer service is set to end this month, the Peterborough Telegraph understands.
The volunteer service is set to end this month, the Peterborough Telegraph understands.

One volunteer said: “We're all devastated by the decision taken by the Trustees and Chairman; it feels as if they are giving up.

"It’s dreadful, so many of us are angry and can’t understand it. We still do make a profit and surely when it comes to raising money, every little helps.

"We’ve built a community here. Nurses and other staff would always wander down and get what they need; even something as simple as a chocolate bar could provide a real pick-me-up.

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"It's just such a shame, so many people would come for us birthday cards as well as little knitted items for babies, that you can’t get anywhere else.”

A closing-down sale is currently taking place with the shop set to close its doors for the last time on January 30.

Pre-Covid, the charity also ran a refreshment and newspaper trolley service and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the hospital over its 75 years.

Among the donations to the hospital from the charity in recent years have been two state-of-the-art touch screens for the dementia-friendly wards which offer patients a range of activities such as jigsaw puzzles, painting, a library of historic photos, and films to watch, a Veinplicity medical device to aid staff when inserting cannulas, two trolleys, children’s books for the Bereavement Care Centre and a DAB radio for the fracture clinic.

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The charity has also previously held regular charity events to support its giving efforts towards the hospital.

Speaking about the departure of the Friends charity, Caroline Walker, Chief Executive Officer at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are indebted to the Friends charity for their fantastic support.

"On behalf of the Trust Board, I would like to thank the members of the charity for their efforts which have boosted patient care across the hospital in many ways.”

Susan Mahmoud, Chair of the Friends of Peterborough Hospitals, said: “Since the pandemic, when fewer people were coming into the hospital, we have noticed a reduced number of people using the shop, and sadly, as a result, the Trustees of the charity have taken the decision with the Hospital Trust to close.

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“We are extremely grateful to the volunteers and staff who have supported the running of the shop over the years, and of course, all those who have come in to purchase gifts, cards and confectionary since Peterborough City Hospital opened in 2010.

“I am hugely proud of the fact the charity has supported the running of hospitals in Peterborough over the last 75 years and we will continue to celebrate that milestone this year, despite closing the hospital shop.”