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Support RBKares in providing wellbeing packages for Kingston Hospital

RBKares tells us about its latest initiative and how you can help…

In October last year, Dr Kate Kenyon and a small group of volunteers from Sewing4Kingston formed RBKares (Royal Borough of Kingston Cares).

The group got to know many of the Care Home staff in the borough after distributing fabric face coverings, hair scrunchies, laundry bags and scrubs to them. It became apparent that these men and women were in need of some thanks and support after tough year. We set to and got Christmas presents for all staff and all residents with no family and, despite changing Covid tiers, managed to distribute approximately 3,500 gifts and homemade Christmas cards from local school children.

As soon as the Christmas decorations came down, Kate started a new campaign. Still using the RBKares name but this time sending wellbeing parcels and support to the staff at Kingston Hospital. The group of volunteers has increased and the scale of this project is as big if not bigger than the Care Home one.

We have set up a Crowdfunding page – we have a minimum target of £20,000 and are currently at just over £16,000 + gift aid. This money goes direct to the Fundraising Charity (hence they can claim the gift aid). The Hospital decides how best to spend this money for the wellbeing of their staff dealing with the Covid pandemic.

RBKares has an Amazon wish list for snacks and coffee etc for the staff to grab on their short breaks and refuel them. The staff are all doing very long and arduous shifts, sometimes barely having time to eat – these snacks are proving very popular.

The parcels are delivered directly to our hub, quarantined, unpacked and delivered to the hospital by our volunteers.

RBKares wellbeing bag

RBKares wellbeing bag

The group has been making up wellbeing bags for the staff, some of whom are off work with Covid or extreme stress. These are handmade and embroidered tote or drawstring bags (all made by an army of very talented sewers and embroiderers from donated fabric and pillowcases). Inside there is a homemade card with a thank you message, a mindful activity (jigsaw, adult painting by numbers, diamond art, embroidery kits, puzzle books etc), a selection of treaty toiletries and hand cream, a scented candle and some lovely chocolates, as well as a fabric face covering. All to show that we, as a community care and appreciate the hard and selfless work the staff do every single day. We are using locally made products where we can.

All these items have been donated by local communities, charities and businesses. There are various donation points where gifts are accumulated and quarantined before going to the hub – Dr Kate Kenyon’s front room. Here they are sorted into categories and volunteers pack, socially distanced, in her front garden.

Thank you to everyone who has supported and continue to support us.

Our aim is to distribute a minimum of 1500 bags across various departments.

RBKares has also responded really quickly with requests for embroidered sleeveless fleeces for the staff to wear when they have to meet patients at the ambulances or do consultations outside. Some of the sewing ladies have made special teddy bear fleeces and embroidered them for the A&E paediatric staff.

The big push at the moment is for the Crowdfunder and Amazon wish list.

As a community of volunteers, we are trying to make a difference in whatever way we can.

Click for the Crowdfunder to donate.

Support with the Amazon gift list here.

Find out more on Facebook here.