Inside Harrogate Hospital

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You may have seen the recent feature in The Harrogate Advertiser about the wonderful achievements of the Friends of Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary this year and the fact that over this period they have raised around £2million.

This dedicated group of volunteer fundraisers have worked tirelessly over the years, and still play an important role in funding equipment for wards and departments across Harrogate District Hospital.

All this is above and beyond what the NHS can provide, improving care and the environment in your hospital.

Following their fundraising efforts over the past 12 months, they distributed nearly £45,000 in grants to fund 18 projects ranging from a few hundred pounds towards walking aids for therapy services to £10,000 for cardiac monitoring systems which are less invasive than current systems, improving the patient experience and reducing trauma.

The impact of the equipment that we are able to purchase through the friends fundraising is no more apparent than a purchase of a sensory guru eye gaze portable assessment kit.

This is used for children and young people who have severe physical and/or communication difficulties, and enables them to begin communicating using just their eyes, often for the first time. The first person to use the equipment, Oscar, had a trial, and since then has used it at home to see if it would suit his communication needs.

The Principal speech and language therapist at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said ‘it was amazing to watch Oscar taking control over the activities on the screen using only his eyes.

His mum commented that it was the first time she has seen him able to influence an activity independently.’

This is just one of over 1,000 items that has been funded by the Friends over the past fifty years and each one has a huge impact on improving the experience of patients being cared for at Harrogate hospital and wider community. This included raising over £330,000 in just 12 months for a new MRI Scanner in 2005, which reduced waiting times from over a year, to being able to provide the service almost on demand at the time.

The Friends’ next fundraising event is to provide more dementia friendly facilities is sure to appeal to all; an old time music hall event, in the style of the Good Old Days, featuring Billy Pearce is taking place at The Royal Hall on Saturday October 28, with performances at 2.30 and 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 from Harrogate Theatre Box Office.

Last month, I told you all that people really are awesome. Well to finish this month’s update from Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity, if you didn’t already know: dogs are awesome too!

Tomorrow, Leroy, a nine-year-old border terrier, and his faithful friend, Ian Walker, along with Karl O’Conner and John Molloy are setting off on a 16 day Coast to Coast walk to raise funds for the Sir Robert Ogden Centre here at HDFT and Macmillan. Leroy, whose owner runs the Riverside Café in Knaresborough, loves to walk, but this challenge may be a bit too much, so Ian is prepared and has packed a puppy pack to take the strain when he needs a rest.

Good luck to Leroy and his friends. You can sponsor Leroy on his fundraising page: www.virginmoneygiving.com/IANWALKER29.