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Charity funds wellbeing projects for Hywel Dda NHS staff

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Artist Bull Taylor-Beales from People Speak Up took a drawing class at the Hywel Dda University Health Board Annual Nursing Conference

HYWEL DDA Health Charities is funding six major projects to support the health and wellbeing of the 12,000-plus NHS staff working across the Hywel Dda University Health Board area.

This has been possible thanks to a £242,000 grant from the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal which raised more than £130 million to help with the impact of the pandemic on NHS staff thanks to the kindness and generosity of the British public.

The projects are providing a range of opportunities and support including ecotherapy retreats, Wellbeing Champions, bereavement support and training, staff rest areas, a lifelong learning fund, and arts in health and wellbeing activities.

And more than 2,700 Hywel Dda University Health Board staff across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire have already benefited from the projects.

One ecotherapy retreat for staff has already been held, with four more planned for 2022 and five for 2023.

The retreats have been specially designed for Hywel Dda staff and are aimed at those who are experiencing high levels of stress or who are at risk of burnout. They give an opportunity to slow down and reflect and experience restoration in nature and staff taking part have already talked of healing and nature becoming an ally.

Pictured are Julie Brennan, Bereavement Support Services Manager (left) and Katie Barrett, Senior Co-ordinator Bereavement Support Services (right) with the specialist trainers working on the project – Amanda Cardell and Sandra Edwards

More than 130 staff have registered to become Wellbeing Champions and 65 have already completed the induction programme. The aim is to have 100 champions in place by September this year, promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Local initiatives that have already been developed by the champions include lunchtime Tai Chi classes, ward-based wellbeing libraries, and programmes supporting hydration, exercise and relaxation.

Two Specialist Bereavement Staff Support Trainers have been appointed on a job-share basis to provide education for staff relating to death, dying and bereavement. They have established a bereavement support and training project, working with senior nursing teams and operational managers.

Workshops are being held for staff focusing on grief, loss and bereavement, including the effects of working through the pandemic and self-care. Participants to date have included senior nurses, staff nurses, family liaison officers, health care support workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. They have reported that the workshops have been of huge benefit in supporting patients and families with symptoms of grief.

The grant funding will also enable new staff rest areas to be created as well as improvements to be made to existing rest areas, following engagement with staff. These indoor and outdoor rest areas will enable staff across the health board to benefit from fresh air and relaxation time as well as more comfortable surroundings for breaks.

The Lifelong Learning Fund has also been launched, which offers staff the chance to apply for funding to learn new skills to help them recover from the experience of the pandemic.

Arts in health and wellbeing activities are also being provided for staff. The Hywel Dda Arts in Health Coordinators have piloted a programme of creative activities, including live music performances, creative writing sessions, online singing activities and arts and culture events.

Lisa Gostling, the health board’s Director of Workforce & Organisation Development, said: “We consulted with staff to understand their experiences of working during the pandemic and, in understanding the huge impact the pandemic had on our staff’s wellbeing, we wanted to invest in programmes and initiatives that provided mechanisms for reflection and Recovery.

Jess Cox who took part in a jewellery-making workshop

“Some of our staff worked in extremely challenging circumstances and we have been able to invest in programmes that will all help to support the well-being of our staff at work. We are so grateful for the opportunity to provide these much-needed facilities and programmes for the staff at Hywel Dda. In supporting the wellbeing of our staff we can continue to support our patients and public to the best of our ability.”

Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience for the health board, said: “During the pandemic, our staff have gone above and beyond and have worked to ensure that appropriate 24/7 care has been available to meet patient needs across our three counties. 

“We are so proud of our staff and one of our priorities now is to support their rest, recovery and the restoration of their wellbeing. These six new projects to support staff wellbeing and recovery in the longer term have been well received by our teams and we are very grateful for the support of NHS Charities Together and the public through their donations.”

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Charity

Royal celebration at Buckingham Palace marks RNLI’s 200th anniversary

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HIS MAJESTY The King has graciously hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace today to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). This prestigious event brought together approximately 2,500 of the RNLI’s dedicated volunteers, staff, and their families.

The garden party, held in the palace’s magnificent grounds, was marked by the presence of an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, showcasing the RNLI’s modern lifesaving capabilities. The event celebrated the remarkable history and ongoing contributions of the RNLI, which has been saving lives at sea since its founding in 1824.

Among those honoured at the event were representatives from Tenby Lifeboat Station and St Davids Lifeboat Station. From Tenby, the delegation included recently retired Coxswain Philip John, along with Michael Lewis, Daniel Young, Graham Waring, and Peter O’Hagan, all accompanied by their partners. Representing St Davids Lifeboat Station were Will Chant, Jestyn Martin, Ffion Rees, Judd Kohler, Ellen Evans, and their respective partners. These individuals were recognised for their exceptional service and dedication to the institution, trading their RNLI yellows for smart attire on this special occasion.

The RNLI, established in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, has grown into a vital organisation dedicated to saving lives at sea. Over its two centuries of operation, the RNLI has saved more than 142,700 lives, thanks to the bravery and commitment of its volunteers and staff. Today, the RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations and provides a 24-hour search and rescue service around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.

His Majesty’s patronage and the garden party at Buckingham Palace underscore the nation’s deep appreciation for the RNLI’s invaluable service. The celebration not only honoured past achievements but also highlighted the continued importance of the RNLI’s mission as it looks forward to the future.

For more information on the RNLI’s history and its bicentenary celebrations, please visit the official RNLI website.

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Charity

Cycling enthusiasts complete mammoth challenge on tandem bike

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AGAINST all odds two cycling enthusiasts from Pembrokeshire have completed a mammoth challenge on a tandem called ‘Jean’ in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.

Lee Berridge and John Mumberson, even slept in ditches as they took part in the nearly 300-mile, two-and-a-half-day event which starts and ends in Plymouth.

The pair wanted to “put money into a charity that has helped several people” they know who have been “airlifted out”.

The bike ride was no easy feat both were recovering from accidents themselves when they signed up.

49-year-old Lee had to have back surgery after a horrendous fall whilst on a work training programme. Whilst John injured his wrist and broke facial bones after falling in his garden.

Lee said: “I was learning new rigging techniques to do my summer job because I try and do festivals and different circus events that are on then.

“A piece of equipment came undone or failed. Nobody is sure what happened, but I fell six and a half metres, straight to the floor and shattered three vertebrae.

“I wasn’t airlifted out, but I was blue lighted to the nearest hospital that could do the best operation that I needed.”

He added: “I have also had several motorbike friends that have all been airlifted off site. Some recovered, some did not.

“A friend’s brother had a car accident a few weeks ago. He was airlifted out but sadly died the next day.

“His sister did a sponsored run, and it was that, that inspired and prompted me to want to fundraise for the charity.”

Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury.

It is delivered via a unique Third sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the charity’s vehicles.

Lee says the air ambulance does “incredible work” and he wanted to say thank you by fundraising.

He said: “I have done lots of long-distance events, but only for myself. I have never done it to raise money for anything else.”

A biking enthusiast, whilst Lee was recovering from his injuries a friend of his asked him if he wanted to buy a tandem. That is when he was introduced to ‘Jean.’

He said: “I have two tandems already. I do not actually ride any of them, but this one came up I just thought I’ll buy it, do it up and sell it to make money, while I’m not actually working,

“But it transpired that I’d actually cycled with the original owners that got the bicycle made – so I bought it.”

Back in 2023, Lee and John had planned to do the Trans Dorset race but because of their accidents they had to put their fundraising on hold. When entry for the Trans Devon opened, they signed up.

Lee said: “We decided that we would do it on a tandem and we were the only tandem in the race. Everybody else who was on solo bikes was carrying as little amount of stuff as possible.

“But me and John, we just took all our own camping equipment and we literally slept on car parks in the front porch of a church and went over some of the most scrawling hills.”

So, far the pair have raised just over £1,000 and they are already planning more fundraising events.

Lee said: “The air ambulance is amazing it has helped so many people. It really should not take a charity to do what it does.

“It should not have to be raising its own money to run a lifesaving service.

“That is why I want to do as much as I can to help, and we are already planning two more rides this year.”

Wales Air Ambulance’s Head of Fundraising Mark Stevens said: “We are hugely grateful that Lee and John took on the Trans Devon in aid of our charity. They navigated some challenges, sleeping under the stars, covering unfamiliar terrain and on a tandem too!

“We need to raise £11.2 million each year to keep our helicopters in the sky and rapid response vehicles on the road.

“By helping us hit that target we are able to help thousands of people each year who are critically ill or injured thanks to the kindness of our supporters.”

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Charity

Charity funds artwork and chair for Colposcopy Unit at Withybush

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THANKS to generous donations, Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has been able to fund artwork and a recliner couch for the Colposcopy Unit at Withybush Hospital.

A colposcopy is a procedure used to look at the cervix, the lower part of the womb at the top of the vagina. It’s often done if cervical screening finds abnormal cells in the cervix.

The waiting area, corridor and recovery rooms in the Colposcopy Unit now boast vibrant images of Pembrokeshire. Patients can view the scenes from the comfort of a brand-new recliner couch.

Elaina Hoss, Colposcopist, said: “The Colposcopy team are very grateful that charitable funds has enabled the unit to have a mini makeover. 

“We are over the moon with what has been received and are so thankful.  Our patients have remarked how wonderful it looks and we are really happy with our newly improved environment.”

Sharon Evans, Colposcopy Co-ordinator, said: “It is lovely to be welcoming patients to our now colourful department.  The beautiful images brighten up our day.”

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive.”

For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

Pictured above (L-R): Sharon Evans, Colposcopy Co-ordinator and Elaina Hoss, Colposcopist.

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