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Friends in name – and in deed. That’s a long-established Portsmouth charity which has raised many tens of thousands of pounds for hospital causes.
The League of Friends of St Mary’s Portsmouth has donated around £90,000 to different projects in support of the new £18.6m community health campus which will open on the former hospital site on 12 December.
The group was today praised by Catherine Webster, the campus project lead for NHS Portsmouth, the primary care trust behind the new scheme.
The Department of Health has invested £17.1m in the project – with NHS Portsmouth the remaining £1.5m.
Mrs Webster said: “We have turned to the Friends in a number of areas and they have been incredibly supportive.
“Their involvement has meant that we have been able to concentrate our financial resources on ensuring we deliver the scheme’s essential elements, while they have been able to enhance the scheme in a number of respects and, to use their words, ‘put the icing on the cake.’
“Their support has meant that we’ve been able to go that extra mile in finishing off some of the work – such as £18,000 on providing much better curtains around the building than we otherwise might have been able to.”
David Frost (pictured), the Friends’ deputy chair, said: “Everyone recognises that the NHS, like all public sector organisations, is under tremendous financial pressure so we are delighted that this new campus represents a major new investment in health services inPortsmouth.
“It also ensures a continued significant health resource inPortseaIslandon a site which has housed a major hospital for generations, so we are really pleased that any financial contribution we make is further enhancing facilities for patients, service-users and the visitors who come here.
“Every one who spends money in our new shop in the campus or buys refreshments in our coffee shops, is helping us put even more money into worthwhile causes in support of the NHS in general and St Mary’s in particular.”
The Friends of St Mary’s last year organised a photographic competition for us to put up views of Portsmouth inside the campus – a £10,000 or so investment which is resulting in 56 entries being framed and put up by the league throughout the campus to further enhance the patient’s experience.
Other major projects, in which Friends money has been used to provide patient-related equipment, include:
A number of public open days are being held at the campus from 28 November to 2nd December. For details visit the NHS Portsmouth website www.portsmouth.nhs.uk and click on Your Health.