Winter Support for Vulnerable Patients | Charity News Blog

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Winter Support for Vulnerable Patients

Thanks to an idea from former Chief of Nursing and Therapies, Marcia Perry, BCHC Charity have been able to deliver a winter support bag scheme providing those in need throughout Birmingham with items to help keep them warm during wintertime.

Work on the project began in autumn 2022, initially as support to those on the District Nursing caseload as many of these patients are living alone in fuel poverty. With a cost-of-living emergency being declared by Birmingham City Council in September 2022, there were very real worries about vulnerable patients affording heating, therefore the Charity worked alongside District Nurses to create support bags to provide those in need with means to keep warm and comfortable during the winter months.

A charity branded tote bag on a table, alongside the contents; a flask, hot water bottle, socks, blanket, soups and hot chocolate sachetsThe bags each contained a fleecy blanket, hot water bottle, vacuum flask with soup and hot chocolate sachets, and a pair of thermal socks, and the project helped over 550 people to keep warm over the 2022-23 winter. Angela Corry, Charity Campaign Manager, received “a particularly heart-warming call from an elderly gentleman who told me that he had lost his wife just before Christmas and how it is so comforting to see the District Nurses arrive at his house. He loved the bag, and said it was a ‘wonderful gesture’ and it will ‘make a real difference’.”

Another patient, upon receiving a bag, said, “This is so kind, I can’t believe that someone has done this for me. Thank you very much!” Lead Nurse Sommer Matthews said, “Whilst the patients are frail and vulnerable, they have lived a life and have wonderful stories and experiences to share with the nurses. It is the best job in the world as it is such a privilege to be invited into their homes and have the opportunity get to know them over a period of time and to make things a little better for them”.

The contents of the LD winter bags; blanket, socks, gloves, soups, mindful colouring and pencils, and fidget toysHodge Hill and Sutton Coldfield Neighbourhood Network Schemes also provided grants so that BCHC Charity could provide winter support bags for vulnerable patients accessing the Learning Disabilities services, which also included sensory items such as flex toys, stress balls and activity books. Dr Laura Carrington, BCHC Clinical Psychologist, works across the three learning disability hubs. She said, “The bags were really well received by the clients. One of the clients really enjoyed using the mindful colouring book and has continued to use this in our sessions since and said it has helped her to relax. She also really liked the fidget toys and was using this as a way to cut down on smoking, as it was something to do with her hands. Another client really liked having the blanket and said she finds using this comforting when she feels overwhelmed with emotions.

It was really nice to be able to gift our clients something as thoughtful as this. For some, they unfortunately don’t get to receive very much from others in the way of gifts and so it had the effect of showing them that they are cared for. One client became tearful when opening the bag as it meant a lot to her.”

BCHC staff stand by a tamber unit filled with charity branded winter support bagsThe Charity was able to not only reinstate but expand this project for winter 2023-24, providing 1,112 bags so far for distribution by the District Nursing, Adult Social Care teams and small grassroots charities. Funding for this winter period has enabled us to include extra items in the bags, such as hats and scarves where appropriate, but to also extend the project to younger patients on the caseloads too, allowing us to offer bags to patients ages between 18-49 years who have long term conditions and disabilities. 

BCHC Charity would like to offer our sincere thanks to all the donors for this project over both winter periods which has made a huge difference to patients across the city; the Erdington, Hodge Hill, Ladywood, Northfield, Perry Barr, Sutton Coldfield and Yardley Neighbourhood Network Schemes, the Eric W Vincent Trust Fund, and the family who contributed in memory of Mr Alan Wilson.

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