Staff from West Park Hospital in Darlington are spreading a little bit of happiness and goodwill in the form of Christmas gifts for those in financial difficulty.
Crisis team staff, including the team secretary, nurses and healthcare assistants have been the driving force behind a collection which has seen gifts, toys and food donated to The Salvation Army as part of their Christmas appeal.
The team have rallied support from hospital staff, visitors and patients who have given generously to the collection, helping to ease some of the financial pressure families in hardship are facing this Christmas. A tombola also raised £300 to buy gifts for older children and teenagers.
Bev Bowman, modern matron for acute mental health services in the area, said “Many studies have found a link between socio-economic status and mental health. Money worries can put people under a huge amount of pressure, leaving them vulnerable to mental health problems.
“Collections like this can really make a difference by giving people one less thing to worry about. They also support the mental wellbeing of those giving by helping to build a sense of community and involving people in meaningful activity. There is also evidence to show that doing something kind for others can reduce stress and improve emotional wellbeing.”
Katrina Angus, team secretary and one of the organisers said “As NHS staff supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society, we see first-hand the financial difficulties many people are facing. We wanted to do something that took a little bit of the pressure off and to give those who are struggling something to look forward to. We also recognise the importance of making sure people’s basic needs are met and have collected food items to help make sure families don’t go hungry at Christmas.
“We have been running the collection for the past three years and continue to be amazed by the generosity of people coming to the hospital. Next year we are hoping to develop this further and have collections across three hospital sites including Auckland Park Hospital in Bishop Auckland and Lanchester Road Hospital in Durham.
“We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen, whether it was donning a costume to sell raffle tickets, putting up a poster or making a donation. Your support has really been appreciated and we hope will bring a bit of Christmas sparkle to someone going through a rough time.”