Festive marketplaces help 500 more colleagues with the rising cost of living

Charleen, Maria and Katie at pur marketplace

Charleen Elton, from our cost of living project team pictured with Maria Quaife, S.M.I.L.E and Katie Winstanely, also from our cost of living team

We’ve helped 516 members of our Trust staff, as well as NELFT colleagues, during our latest cost of living marketplaces – giving vital support in the run-up to Christmas.

Held at Queen’s Hospital on Friday 18 November and King George Hospital on Wednesday 23 November, these marketplaces gave our staff the opportunity to collect toys, clothes, food, and household items. We also ran a tombola with gifts and vouchers up for grabs.

This was possible thanks to donations from our staff and local charity S.M.I.L.E London and Essex, who we worked with to provide more than 450 families with new and used school uniforms in August.

Charleen Elton, from our cost of living project team (pictured above left with Maria Quaife, S.M.I.L.E and Katie Winstanely, also from our cost of living team), said: “Our marketplaces take a lot of planning, massive collaboration, and support from our volunteers, however, seeing the reaction of our staff makes it all worthwhile.

“Many can’t believe the items on offer, and we had several emotional responses to those winning raffle prizes. Lots of staff picked up Christmas presents for their children, and warm clothes for winter. We had one colleague whose daughter’s scooter had broken and they couldn’t afford to replace it - they were able to take home a new one.”

Maria Quaife, Chief Executive of S.M.I.L.E, added: “The feedback from the school uniform marketplaces we held with the Trust over the summer was amazing, and led to us working with other hospitals.

“As well as supporting people with the cost of living crisis, they are also spreading an important environmental message on reusing and recycling items.”

A range of colleagues visited the marketplaces throughout each day, which were open until 9pm to ensure staff working shifts could benefit.

Our Queen's Hospital marketplace

Pictured above is the Queen's Hospital marketplace.

Deanna Angus, a nursing associate for our Dementia and Delirium team, won a £100 voucher on the tombola at the Queen’s marketplace.

She said: “I nearly cried when I won, as I never win anything. It was a very nice surprise.

“I’m pregnant at the moment so I may use it to buy some things for the baby. These marketplaces are really helping staff during difficult times. My team in particular are all really excited with what they’ve found, so it’s a really good mood booster and it makes us feel valued by the Trust.”

Ray Goto, HCA lead intern, won £175 at the King George Hospital marketplace, said: “It was amazing to win.

“Events like this are very good for us and help me feel valued. I support family back home in the Philippines and have had to do extra shifts. This voucher will help me get my family presents.”

There are lots of other ways we’re supporting our staff during these difficult times, including continuing to offer free period products after a successful trial where we distributed almost 600 items across our hospitals. We also offer confidential food bank referrals.

Other support includes: a discount in our canteens; increased mileage allowance for those using their car at work; financial wellbeing days; and giving staff access to a proportion of their salary in advance of payday.


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