Christmas and the many other festivals and events we celebrate this time of year are important to us all – never more so than this year.
They give us the opportunity to reflect and celebrate the things in life that we cherish.
However, we do know this year won’t be the same. Not all of us will get the opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones and for some people it will be a particularly tough time.
Last December, staff supported our Flourish #LetsGive campaign and we were overwhelmed by your generosity. This year our theme is ‘Comfort and Joy’ and will be a little bit different.
While we can’t have a collection in the usual way there are still lots of ways you can support our local foodbank, the Dog and Cat Shelter or our very own Newcastle Hospitals Charity. We’re also launching our very first digital advent calendar.
So join us this Christmas and help spread a little #ComfortAndJoy
To bring some festive cheer to staff – and hopefully raise a few smiles we’re excited to launch our very first digital advent calendar.
It’ll feature information on how to support our local community, refelctive messages from our wonderful Trust Chaplains and some lovely Christmas messages from some familiar faces, along with some little surprises along the way.
Keep an eye on our social media channels to find out more.
The goal of Newcastle Hospitals Charity is to make a positive difference for the patients, staff and communities of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The charity supports initiatives that help to improve the health and wellbeing of our patients, people and wider communities through compassionate and innovative healthcare, education and research locally and globally.
You can make a donation to the charity here or why not show your support this Christmas by taking part in the Tree of Hope campaign.
Our Tree of Hope is a symbol of coming together to reflect, share love and kindness and to look to the future when we can all be together again in happier times.
For a small donation of £5 you can pre-order a decoration which can be placed on our Tree of Hope at the Royal Victoria Infirmary or at The Freeman Hospital.
You can include a message of your choosing: it could be celebratory, a thank you, a message of love or in memory. Your message will be attached to the decoration.
Alternatively if you would like to pre-order our decoration for your tree at home it can be posted to you in December for an additional £1 to cover postage and packing. *Please note decorations posted out don’t include a message.
This year’s festive illuminations in the atrium courtyard
at the RVI and the renal courtyard at the Freeman, have been funded by supporters of our charity for the first time to give our patients, their families, carers and our staff some much needed brightness during this difficult time.
Any funds raised by the Tree of Hope campaign will help future charity projects, initiatives that help to improve that health and wellbeing of our patients, people and wider communities through compassionate and innovative healthcare, education and research.
How to donate and order your decoration
To donate please visit our dedicated Justgiving page here and leave the following details:
– Full name
– £5 for decoration on our Tree of Hope
– Please indicate which hospital with the following code: RVI *Royal Victoria Infirmary / Free *Freeman
– Message to be added to your decoration *max 30 characters.
Shall we change to: Please note unfortunately we can’t post out decorations which are placed on the Tree of Hope as these will remain on display to be appreciated by our patients and staff throughout the festive season. However we can send you a postcard featuring a
picture of the Tree of Hope as a keepsake.
Alternatively, donate £6 if you would like a decoration directly posted to your address.
Please note the last date for orders for the Tree of Hope is Tuesday 15th December 2020.
Christmas is a time to decorate our houses with lights and give and receive gifts.
With a little bit of planning we can reduce the environmental impact of our celebrations—here are our top tips for a greener Christmas!
English households will throw out an additional 3m tonnes of waste over the Christmas period. Much of this waste can be recycled. All paper, including wrapping paper, is recyclable. The only types of wrapping paper that can’t go in the recycling bin are the shiny metallic and glitter types.
Try wrapping your presents in brown or recycled paper, and using string or raffia (made from bark which regenerates) to tie it up. Alternatively, gift bags can be re-used making them a greener choice than wrapping paper, recyclable or not.
Christmas often means lots of new toys – and batteries to go with them! Batteries contain toxic chemicals, do not biodegrade and are difficult to recycle. Lots of supermarkets have a collection for used batteries so take them along next time you’re doing your shopping, or even better use rechargeable batteries.
There are many eco-friendly gift ideas out there that are better for the environment. We have four ideas below:
Buy local – this year, more than ever local businesses need our support. By buying local you’re not only supporting the local economy, you’re cutting down on all those emissions linked to delivery vehicles
Think second hand – not only can you find great bargains when looking at preloved presents, you’re also making the environmentally friendly choice.
Give experiences – from fancy dinners to days out or even weekends away, experiences are likely to be treasured just as much as a physical item.
Gift vouchers – don’t shy away from giving gift vouchers, as they are perfect for ensuring people get things they’ll definitely use. Check out Boobalou for some sustainable voucher options.
E-cards, phone calls and messages make a nice alternative to sending Christmas cards. If you are sending Christmas cards this year, look out for recycled material in the cards, and try not to buy cards with glitter on them as they cannot be recycled.
Glitter has the potential to be damaging to wildlife and the environment as it is mainly made of aluminium and a plastic called PET. The small size of its particles makes it a potential ecological hazard, particularly in the oceans.
So it’s best to avoid wrapping paper or gift bags with glitter on too.
We’re often encouraged to sprinkle glittery reindeer food outside our doors for Rudolph on Christmas Eve. Reindeer food is easy to make yourself – why not make it without glitter and use oats and cake sprinkles or coloured sugar instead.
If you do have reindeer food with glitter in pop it out in a bowl rather than sprinkling it on the ground.
A real Christmas tree is the more environmentally friendly choice, as long as you get one from a sustainable source. You can check with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, where trees are grown according to strict guidelines. You can also choose a tree with roots so that it can be replanted and used again.
If you’re not replanting it, your real tree can be recycled after Christmas. Contact your local authority to find out if they will be offering Christmas tree recycling this year.
A plastic Christmas tree would need to be used for 10 years for it to be more environmentally friendly than a real tree. An artificial tree is made from plastic, is not recyclable or from a renewable source. It may have been shipped a great distance.
And then of course Christmas usually comes with lots of lights! LED Christmas lights use 90% less energy than the incandescent ones. Switch and you will save energy and money too.
And last but not least there’s the food. By the time we sit down to our Christmas dinner the ingredients have potentially travelled a combined distance of 49,000 miles.
Turkeys from Europe, vegetables from Africa, wine from South Africa, cranberries from America—the turkey and trimmings add up to the equivalent of 6000 car trips around the world.
You can do your bit by buying local or buying less. Local produce means you will be supporting small suppliers and the local community, while minimising your carbon footprint. Buy your fruit and vegetables loose without all the wasteful packaging. And don’t forget to put your peelings in the compost! Don’t forget Trust staff can pre-order fruit and vegetables for this Christmas from the Passion4Fruit stalls at the Freeman and RVI.
Meal planning where possible can also help reduce the amount of food that goes in to the bin uneaten.
Sometimes the smallest things can put a smile on someones face, make their day and help them feel appreicated.
This year, instead of sending paper, let’s go digital! Simply download your e-card, choose a design, fill out the inside, attach to an email and SEND!
Christmas Jumper Day
It’s that time of year when tradition dictates that we can don that festive knit you would have been too embarrassed to wear in public at any other time – Christmas Jumper Day.
This year it falls on Friday 11th December, so if you’ve got a festive sweater – old or new – and want to get on board to support Save the Children (or a charity of your choice) please share your photos with us.
Perhaps your team or department want to add to the fun by competing for a best jumper prize and if you are working in a clinical area we’ve got further information on how you can get involved here.
Download our quiz pack and host your own virtual quiz night.
Last December we were overwhelmed by the generosity of staff to support #LetsGive with donations of toiletries, food and other essentials to Foodbanks. We were also inundated with donations for the Dog and Cat shelter.
Both the foodbank and the shelter work incredibly hard throughout the year to make sure that people – and animals – in crisis get support but Christmas is often their busiest time.
This year things are a little bit different, the pandemic means we can’t collect donations centrally however for those who would like – and are able to – there are a number of ways you can still support the foodbank and the Dog and Cat shelter.
The Newcastle West End foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust who support communities and churches to open foodbanks across the UK. There are a number of ways you can support the foodbank ;
Donate online – you can make a one off donation to the foodbank online here.
Donate food – you can hand any food donations to the Benwell Foodbank centre (off Wickham view opposite Tyne View Dentists) Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm. There is also a number of food donation points available
Tesco Extra, Kingston Park, 6am-midnight
Waitrose, Ponteland, 8am – 8pm
Sainsbury’s, Throckley, 8am – 9pm
ASDA Superstore, Gosforth, 6am – midnight
Morrisons, Killingworth, 7am – 10pm
Morrisons, Cowgate, 7am – 10pm
Morrisons, West Denton, 7am – 10pm
Urgently needed food items include
Milk (UHT or powdered)
Tinned rice pudding
Dog and Cat shelter
While the Dog and Cat shelter are continuing to rehome they are unable to accept any physical donations. The pandemic has meant that many of their fundraising events have been cancelled and it has also meant the closure of their coffee shop and charity shops. If you would like – and are able to help you can make a monetary donation here.
Head over to our social channels from 25th December where we share the twelve days of self care Christmas. Each day we’ll be sharing a tip, idea or inspiration for talking time for you!