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Northumbria hospital volunteer shops launch partnership with pantry

Friday, 11 September, 2015
Northumbria hospital volunteer shops launch partnership with pantry

A partnership between two hospitals in Northumberland and a centre for adults with learning disabilities has been officially launched.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Hospital Volunteer Service (HVS) has teamed up with The Pottergate Centre in Alnwick to sell produce from its trading activity in its volunteer-run shops at The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington and Wansbeck General Hospital.

The shops provide a much-valued service to patients, visitors and staff with money raised going towards improving the hospital environment and health services for the community, and providing the little extras which make a real difference to patients’ experiences.

The Pottergate Centre is one of eight day centres for adults with learning disabilities run by Northumberland County Council, providing social care to 51 adults with learning, physical or health-related disabilities.

The Pottergate Pantry is one of two trading activities run by staff and service users at the Alnwick centre, with all profits reinvested into services.

Providing around 50 meals per day for everyone at the centre, the pantry delivers a successful catering trading activity from the site, selling frozen meals to the public as well as supplying a number of outlets across Northumberland.

Non-executive director Ian McMinn, who is heavily involved with the trust’s volunteers, said: “We’re passionate about supporting local producers whenever we can and are pleased to form a partnership with the Pottergate Centre which provides a vital service in the county.

“It was fantastic to welcome members of the team to our new Northumbria hospital at Cramlington so they could see first-hand where their produce was being sold.

“Their cakes and biscuits are literally flying off the shelves with many positive comments from the public and we wish them every success in the venture.”

Pottergate manager Stephanie Stafford said: “We are delighted to be involved with Northumbria Healthcare HVS and to know that our high quality locally-made produce is being recognised and sold in The Northumbria hospital and Wansbeck General Hospital shops for patients, staff and visitors to enjoy.

“The Pottergate Pantry offers a great way for service users to learn new skills, meet new people and develop their confidence and self-esteem. All service users receive catering training, are an integral part of the team and are involved in all aspects of production, delivery and promotions.

“It is credit to their skills and enthusiasm that our range of quality products can be found on sale throughout Northumberland at a number of popular niche retail outlets.”

Councillor Scott Dickinson, chair of the Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This is a fantastic link which provides both great quality locally-produced products for people at both hospitals as well as supporting a local enterprise which provides huge benefit for Pottergate centre service users.

“I will be looking out for Pantry products when I next visit the hospitals.”

Northumbria Healthcare has more than 900 volunteers across its sites as part of HVS who carry out a range of roles. These include meeting and greeting patients and visitors at hospital entrances, working in one of the HVS shops, assisting patients at mealtimes and facilitating ward activities.