We couldn’t do what we do without the generous support of many individuals, companies, grant-making trusts and community groups. Thanks to them, we have been able to make a difference for many thousands of patients, their families and carers, and of course our colleagues, throughout this year and beyond.
Here we are able to share just some of the highlights of the impact our supporters have helped us to make:
Supporting Young People: in Partnership with the Newcastle United Foundation
Goal: Improving Child Health
Activity is important for physical health, mental health and resilience. However, children with cancer and chronic conditions at the Great North Children’s Hospital often have to remain seated for treatments, which can sometimes take four to five hours, without access to any physical activity, or are often bedbound for long stretches of time.
Two of our funds, the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation – pay for two inspirational Project Officers, Gareth and Melissa, who are employed by Newcastle United Foundation.
Each has a specific role, dedicated to supporting young cancer patients and children with chronic illnesses at the Hospital. They connect with young patients and their families to create unforgettable experiences which help them to overcome barriers, build confidence and just have some time for fun!
Above: Project Officer Gareth with young patient, Bailey
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Bailey’s diagnosis hit us like a tonne of bricks….we’re very grateful to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. I couldn’t always be there because of restrictions but whenever I had chat with him on the phone I could see his face was beaming because Gareth had been.Dean Bailey's Dad
Counselling and Acupuncture Service: in Partnership with Coping with Cancer
Goal: Improvements to Cancer Care
When you are affected by cancer, having the right support at the right time is essential. During treatment for cancer many patients can experience emotional, mental health, financial, social and physical side effects. Since 2018, Charlie Bear for Cancer Care, part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, has been working in partnership with Coping with Cancer North East, to fund 3 counsellors and acupuncture services that provide emotional and physical support for all patients at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC) based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. The service is mainly used by patients with breast cancer or prostate cancer.
Vitally, due to the continued funding Coping with Cancer North East receives from Newcastle Hospitals Charity, when faced with the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, the service successfully continued providing crucial patient and family support, at a time when hospital access was understandably limited. It transferred its services to the Cancer North East community-hub in Cramlington and provided bespoke sessions based on patient needs. Instead of acupuncture group sessions, they delivered one-to-one treatments and telephone counselling.
Above: A Staff Nurse assists a patient with treatment
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The counsellor was very good and I could not have dealt with my cancer journey without her. The service is very worthwhile.Patient – Coping with Cancer
Fruit and Veg Stall
Goal: Support Green and Healthy Hospitals
Sometimes, it is the little things that make a difference. We’re proud to have funded an on-site fruit and veg stall at the Freeman Hospital, meaning that staff, patients and visitors don’t have to go far to get their 5-a-day! The convenience of the stalls also encourages healthier snacking habits, and they’re a firm favourite amongst hospital staff.
Above: The Fruit and Veg Stall at the Freeman
Above: Charity Branding on the Fruit and Veg Stall at the Freeman Hospital
Sensational Thinking Project
Goal: Improving Child Health
The Sensational Thinking Project began in 2018 to make a difference to the lives and experiences of children with sensory processing differences. It works primarily to support children with autism spectrum disorder. However, sensory processing differences can also affect; premature babies, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), those exposed to trauma and children spending a long time in hospital as an inpatient.
The project’s priority is to work with families, education, health and social care, business and the community to help people better understand sensory processing and how it affects each child to help inform practice. The team provides support to all children affected by sensory differences regardless of clinical diagnosis.
So far, the project has trained over 1,000 people across Newcastle including parents, over 300 Newcastle Hospital staff members across different clinical areas and has trained half of the mainstream schools in Newcastle and linked in with Occupational Therapists in specialised schools.
The Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation, part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, has funded an additional occupational therapy post as part of this project. The aim is to raise awareness and understanding of sensory processing and development and to create an accessible education ‘tool box’, including videos to support people to maximise and empower them in helping these children.
Above: A young patient enjoys some sensory play
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We are so grateful for the funding we have received…which is making it possible for our project to continue to support these children and their families and make a difference to their lives. We still have so much we want to do develop for these families as we have only just touched the tip of the iceberg, but the potential is huge and the need is so high.Alice Gair Occupational Therapist at Newcastle Hospitals
Central Line Training Busts
Goal: Pioneer Research and Innovation
We’re proud to have funded training busts at the Freeman Hospital, which allow patients with a central line to learn how to look after their line themselves, taking ownership of their care.
Central lines can be left in place for several months and are used to give chemotherapy, antibiotics, blood transfusions and to take blood samples. It’s important that patients know how to care for their line, which these busts will aid with.
Above: Staff model the Central Line Training Busts at the Freeman Hospital
Zone West: in Partnership with North East Wellbeing
Goal: Improving Child Health
We’re passionate about making a positive impact in the wider community, not just our hospitals. In the West End of Newcastle, inequality is represented in higher levels of childhood obesity, poor mental health and emotional wellbeing and poor educational outcomes in comparison with other counties.
‘Zone West’ was an 18-month pilot scheme to help vulnerable children flourish, delivered by North East Wellbeing, a local charity. The Zone West theory focuses on connection between children and adults, and how this impacts their ability to thrive. Thirty children from four primary schools were referred to Zone West through their teacher or GP. The children were failing to thrive at school or at home due to an education, behaviour, social-emotional or health concern.
Each recruited child became a ‘Zone West Warrior’ and was assigned a Link Worker to support them throughout the Zone West programme. Our fund, the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation, provided an initial grant of £35,000 to underpin the project.
Above: A Link Worker works with children referred into the ‘Zone West’ projectSign Up and Learn More about our Work
YPAGne (Young Person’s Advisory Group, North East)
Goal: Improving Child Healthcare
Many researchers work on projects related to children and young people without actually engaging directly with them to get their views about the relevance and potential impact of the project. As a result, researchers fail to capture valuable opinions from young people into the significance of the questions they are asking, the research methods they are using, and their plans for sharing the information.
The ‘Young Persons Advisory Group North England’ (YPAGne) offers medical and healthcare researchers at all levels the opportunity to collaborate with young people from the very start of a research project. The aim of the group is to capture the voice of young people in research design and delivery to improve the input and influence of young people in the development of health research.
In 2018 the growing success of the group led to the appointment of a full-time Coordinator. The group has more than 40 volunteer members aged 11 to 18 years-old and meets monthly at the hospital to review many different types of research that is aimed at children and young people.
Above: YPAGne meets regularly at the hospital to review prospective research.
YPAGne is not only an opportunity for young people to be listened to but also enhances educational and personal growth. YPAGne has taught me to question and challenge and how to work as a team. We work as a collective to solve problems and find solutions.Ella Logan YPAGne Member