Marketplace to support staff with cost of school uniforms helps over 150 families – with 200 more benefitting from vouchers

We held a special Marketplace for our staff offering donated school uniforms, as well as office wear, to help them as the cost-of-living crisis bites.

The Marketplace was held at Queen’s Hospital on Thursday 11 August and saw 157 colleagues take home items to help their families. Donations were made by members of staff, and over 30 boxes of new uniforms were provided by the charity Smile London and Essex.

Another Marketplace will be held a King George Hospital on Tuesday 23 August, while a further 200 colleagues are benefitting from vouchers to buy school uniform at local shops, worth £30 per child.

Charlene Elton with Katie Winstanley, from of cost-of-living project team

Charleen Elton was one of several colleagues from our cost-of-living project team, (Charlene is pictured above left, with Katie Winstanley, also from the project team), which is putting initiatives like this in place, helping run the event. She said:

“I’d been donating some of my own things via social media, as well as using these platforms myself as it has become more expensive to buy necessities, which led to lots of conversations with people about the impact this was having on them.

“During one of our group meetings I suggested holding a Marketplace to make it easier for our staff to collect items they needed. I was really nervous on the day, however, as numbers went up and up, to over 150 people, I felt really emotional. The feedback we got from colleagues was amazing and made it all worthwhile.”

Comments from staff benefitting from the Marketplace included: ‘a very good gesture to support struggling parents, this is very important for families’, and ‘free school uniform and office wear is an amazing initiative, what a great way to help staff in need’.

Other support our staff are benefitting from includes a discount in our canteens, an increase in mileage allowance, extended hours of the shuttle bus which runs between our hospitals, and information on wellbeing support services, including help with finances, is available to all staff. 

We’re also a foodbank referrer and have held financial wellbeing days, while our cost-of-living project team continue looking at other ways to offer sustainable support to our staff.


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