Initiative boosts healthcare workers’ morale and supports local business

An initiative to boost staff morale during the COVID-19 crisis has been introduced by Care UK, which runs Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in a bid to support local businesses as many battle huge uncertainty under the current circumstances.

Colleagues at Peninsula NHS Treatment are contributing to the fight against COVID-19 by providing additional support University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP). Management at Care UK wanted to show their gratitude for the extra mile being taken by each and every team member, so they have allocated a budget to each of its services to be spent on morale boosting treats as part of an initiative called ‘Care UK Together’.

The treats might be a weekly cake run, a special breakfast club, or facilities for mindfulness and well-being such as colouring books and pens, a gentle work out area or a jigsaw or reading corner.

The only proviso is that the money must be spent with local businesses which might be struggling at this difficult time.

At Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre the team have decided to spend their budget with three local businesses – Devon Maid Cakes, The Devon Fudge Company and Plymouth Garden Centre. Members of staff are receiving a steady supply of cupcakes, confectionery and plants for their homes and gardens.

Shelley Cocker, who started Devon Maid Cakes at the end of 2018 when she was facing redundancy, said: “I think this is a great initiative and really helpful to a business like mine. I have baked cakes for Peninsula before, and would have baked a celebration cake to mark its 15th anniversary on 25th April but the open day had to be cancelled. With uncertainty over wedding and other celebration cakes it is lovely to have this opportunity. I really love what I do, juggling it with my job at a local department store, and although it was a struggle to find ingredients it was brilliant to bake for such a worthwhile cause.”

With garden centres especially affected by lockdown rules, the team at Peninsula really wanted to support their local nursery. Fiona Newton from Plymouth Garden Centre commented: “We were really happy to help Peninsula source plants to thank their team with. We were also delighted to be able to donate some extra items to brighten up the area outside of the building to give everyone working in the area a little lift during these difficult times. It’s a lovely gesture by the Peninsula team for their staff and we were grateful and happy to be a part of it. We wish everyone all the best.”

Teri Barnett from The Devon Fudge Company added: “We wanted to do our bit and help the NHS, and we are still open for business. We have already provided fudge for care packages at Derriford and we were delighted to support Peninsula too – everyone in the NHS is doing an amazing job and anything we can do to help, we certainly will.”

Mark White, Hospital Director at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, commented: “We are honoured to be supporting our colleagues and partners in the NHS at this difficult time, but we are also mindful that many local businesses are struggling as a result of the pandemic. So many businesses are showing their appreciation for healthcare workers – we have lots of examples from across the organisation of kind donations of food and messages of support – and we wanted to do something to support them at their time of need too. We chose our three businesses for the following reasons: Shelley at Devon Maid Cakes has produced a wonderful array of cakes and bakes for us since she started her business; garden centres are experiencing a tough time during lockdown and we wanted to support our local outlet, and; what confectionery shouts ‘Devon’ more than fudge?”

During the COVID-19 crisis, clinical and administrative teams at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre are supporting colleagues at UHP by opening operating theatres to a wide range of surgical specialties, running clinics from the Outpatient Department and offering MRI services. The inpatient ward facilities are also being used for UHP patients.