An island charity which provides goods and services to people in hospital and care homes to make their experience a more comfortable one has had its mission of kindness secured by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.
Western Isles Hospital League of Friends provides resources to Western Isles Hospital and local authority residential care homes Dun Eisdean and Dun Berisay, with its prime objective being to provide a level of care in hospital and beyond that is separate to what the NHS provides.
It runs the tea bar in the hospital in Stornoway and uses the proceeds to buy goods which will make hospital stays more comfortable for patients and enhance their wellbeing.
These range from televisions, radios, table-top fridges and microwaves for hospital wards to the mobile library service providing a range of books and subscription magazines to the admission packs containing items such as toiletries for patients unable to access their own belongings.
They also provide Christmas gifts to the wards, birthday gifts and cards for long-stay residents, gave a contribution towards a memorial garden, do bus runs and ceilidhs over the winter and have provided packs of dementia resources to the care homes.
Although the charity also raises money through raffles, bag packing and collecting cans, most of its funds come from the tea bar, which is open for breakfast, lunch and snacks to patients, visitors and staff.
But disaster struck when their chiller cabinet broke down, severely restricting the food they were able to offer and thereby hitting their income.
Point and Sandwick Trust came to the rescue, however, with a donation of nearly £2,200 which allowed the charity to buy a new chiller and resume normal service once again.
Western Isles Hospital League of Friends chairman Roy Cameron said: “It has a huge impact if we can’t catch all the customers that we can because we’ve got to run our payroll costs and then have something left over, which is distributed.”
The League of Friends relies heavily on volunteers, just as it did when since the charity was first set up in the old County Hospital in 1979, and they are the ones who deliver birthday presents to all care home residents, run the library and staff the tea bar at weekends. However, it also employs a chaplain and four part-time staff to run the tea bar during the week.
On a good year the tea bar will usually make a profit of around £2,000 which can all go towards the services provided by the League of Friends. After its period of restricted service, the tea bar is now happily back on track, raising money for the cause.
When the chiller in the tea bar broke down, the charity was horrified at the prospect of having to replace it due to the high cost.
The suggestion to ask Point and Sandwick Trust for help came from League of Friends director Gordon Mackay, who is also a board member with the community wind farm charity.
Treasurer Donna said they were “delighted” to receive the money which “genuinely did make a huge difference”. They also appreciated how easy the process was. “Point and Sandwick Trust were easy to deal with and the form was easy to go through, which makes a big difference when you are making applications. They didn’t demand lots of quotes, which again is quite a lot of work and can be quite onerous for small committees.
“They didn’t push down our prices so we got a really good quality chiller which will hopefully last a lot longer. We could not have bought such a good chiller ourselves.
“They were very supportive from the start.”
From that one grant, Point and Sandwick Trust have enabled Western Isles Hospital League of Friends continue with their many acts of kindness to hospital patients and care home residents.
Gordon Mackay said: “On behalf of Point and Sandwick Trust, we are delighted to be giving the League of Friends money for the purchase of new equipment within the tea bar at the Western Isles Hospital. The League of Friends provide such a vital service with the tea bar which assists families of patients, patients themselves and even the employees of the hospital.
“Yet again the money is being put to good use to benefit the wider community.”
Treasurer Donna said: “It’s the small things that make a difference.”