Petition is launched to save West Suffolk Hospital fundraising stall run by Friends group
- Credit: Archant
Supporters of West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds have been angered by a decision to close down a stall that raises cash for its services.
The stall, run by the hospital Friends group, which is a registered charity, is based in the main entrance, but according to members the hospital trust wants it closed because it looks “untidy and unprofessional”.
A petition has been launched to keep the fundraising stand going, but the hospital has said it needs to finish by the end of the month.
A Friends volunteer, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s very emotive and has got a lot of people upset.”
She said the footfall at the entrance was fantastic for the stall, and added the petition was receiving a lot of support.
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The Friends charity supports West Suffolk Hospital through fundraising from subscriptions, donations and legacies including cash raised by volunteers in the Friends shop and trolley service.
A spokeswoman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “As part of the trust’s future strategic direction, we have been reviewing the availability of space around West Suffolk Hospital that can be used for important health promotion messages.
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“The front entrance and its proximity to the main outpatient clinics make this a prime location for displaying such patient and public information.
“This means that the area will no longer be available for the Friends charitable table, which is set up three days a week.
“From the end of the month, we will be changing the way items which have been donated to the Friends are used, with books going into the patient library and knitted items to the neonatal unit as well as being sold in the popular Friends shop along with other items.”
She said they were also working with the Friends to look at extending the trolley service they deliver to the wards.
She said this would give them the opportunity “to maintain and possibly build on the income they receive from the table top sales”.
She added: “We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from all of our dedicated volunteers, and are now working with the volunteers who run the charity stall to find them all alternative roles with the Friends shop, which they will enjoy and will make the best use of their skills.
“There are a wide range of activities carried out by our volunteers and only the more mobile will be asked to help with the trolley services.”
The Friends has a membership of about 230 people and about 60 volunteers. Visit www.friendsofwsh.org.uk