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NHS Charity Give a Gift Campaign supports mental health patients across west Wales

ACROSS Wales, NHS charities perform a valuable role ensuring that the generous donations made by members of the public, often in recognition of the healthcare they and their loved ones have received, are distributed where they can make a real difference to NHS patients and staff. The money doesn’t replace NHS funding, but is used to provide services and activities above and beyond core NHS expenditure.

In west Wales, Hywel Dda Health Charities is thanking the public for their support of the charity’s annual Christmas appeal, which in 2020 focused on adult mental health services. Fundraising Manager Tara Nickerson said, “2020 was a tough year for many people and our NHS adult mental health services provide a vital role treating patients in hospital and in the community.

We are delighted with the incredible support from the public, who have purchased items with real value for the patients our NHS staff care for across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.” 47 items worth a total of over £740 were purchased by members of the public to the official NHS charity’s Give a Gift appeal. The wishlist included a microwave, cook books, distraction items, musical instruments and arts and crafts materials, all intended to improve mental health and wellbeing for patients.

More than 230 packs of charity Christmas cards were purchased between October and December, and the charity’s Christmas Jumper Day for staff and supporters on December 11th raised over £565, with NHS frontline workers and the public taking part while following rules on social distancing and clinical guidance for infection prevention and control where necessary.

In total £2,311.33 worth of gifts, Christmas card profits, Christmas Jumper Day proceeds and donations were received as a direct result of the Christmas campaign, which was backed by Wales and British Lions hero Phil Bennett OBE, comedian Rhod Gilbert, BBC TV presenter Rachel Treadaway-Williams and Great British Bake Off finalist Michelle Evans-Fecci, who all encouraged the public to support their local NHS charity.

Nicky Thomas, Service Lead Occupational Therapy Mental Health Services said “Thanks to the Give a Gift campaign, our patients will have better access to therapies such as reminiscence, cognitive stimulation, music, arts, and multi-sensory activities. These resources are vital for both individual and group therapies. We are grateful for the generosity and would like to thank all who donated.”

Occupational Therapist, Louise Wheatley based at St Caradog Ward in Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest said patients would enjoy watching films in a socially distanced way, thanks to a projector and screen which had been purchased. She added, “We’ve got a really good smoothie maker, which can blend down all kinds of different fruits and vegetables for healthy options, and then a slow cooker for people who want to improve their cooking skills, and lots of nice bits, artycraft bits for creative expression.”

Alexander Symmons, an Occupational Therapist at Morlais Ward, Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen added his thanks, “In particular, our new microwave for the patient kitchen, which is where we do all the assessments and cooking activities. This is invaluable, the old one was looking very wonky and was quite temperamental, so we are very grateful for this.”

Occupational Therapist Zia Franks based at Cwm Seren Low Secure Unit, Hafan Derwen, Carmarthen said “Thank you for our lovely box of goodies! It has been well received and we are already putting the items to good use in the sensory modulation group we are starting.”

Tara Nickerson added, “Donations to Hywel Dda Health Charities are helping to improve the experience of adult mental health patients across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. We are very grateful to our communities who, are so generous with the ways they choose to support their local NHS charity, at a time which is challenging for so many.”

To find out more about the work of Hywel Dda Health Charities go to: www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

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