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Staff at NCIC NHS Foundation Trust bring festive cheer to patients and visitors

The shoeboxes collected by the team at Hilltop Heights in Carlisle

Staff at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust have been spreading Christmas cheer with a range of festive activities, including carol singing.

At The Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle a reverse advent calendar has been in operation for the Foodbank as well as a collection of goods for the Carlisle Key charity.

Nurse Elaine Wrigley (with Bah Humbug hat on) and singers from The Solway Singers

Members of The Solway Singers sang carols in the atrium last week to entertain staff and patients.

And the staff in the Integrated Care Communities team, at Carlisle Network in Hilltop Heights, have also collected 20 shoeboxes which are on their way to needy children around the world via the Samaritans.

The boxes are packed with toys, school supplies, notebooks, paper, hat, scarves and gloves and hygiene items such as toothbrushes, soap and hair products.

Staff in the occupational therapy department at the Cumberland Infirmary with their reverse advent calendar

Jenny Brown, from the ICC, said: “It is great to see staff showing team spirit. They go above and beyond every day for all of the people we look after and this is just an extra step towards ensuring less fortunate children have a great Christmas”.

Staff in the endoscopy department have been getting into the festive spirit by putting up a tree and playing Christmas music on the ward.

Senior sister Karen Prokas said: “We try to make it as nice an environment as possible for the patients coming in. Some of our repeat patients like the staff to be jolly but we are always mindful of what are patients are going through.

“We are really grateful to all staff for working. The staff who have older children tend to work Christmas Eve so we can let the younger staff have time off and spend it with their children.”

Staff in the endoscopy department at the Cumberland Infirmary

Meanwhile, Helen Johnstone, who is the trust’s clinical services manager for Strengthening Families, has organised an Undies for Chrimbo campaign for Carlisle Key, to help homeless people aged 16 to 24.

She collected 1225 items.

She said: “It’s gone really well. I’ve had a significant number of donations. I’ve had a lot of everything so I started collecting food as well.

“Most of my donations came from friends and family and also trust employees. I’m really pleased.”

The Occupational Therapy Department at the Cumberland Infirmary collected donations for a reverse advent calendar which they are giving to Carlisle Foodbank.

Lesley Russell, occupational therapy technical instructor, came up with the idea after her son’s school did a similar thing.

She said: “I just decided that I’d quite like to do something to give back.

“My son’s school did it and I mentioned it here and everyone thought it was a good idea.”

Out west, Ward One at the West Cumberland Hospital put up a pink Christmas tree to support patients with breast cancer.

The tree has been adorned with faith, hope and love decorations.

Wards must follow guidelines when putting up decorations to comply with infection prevention rules.

Meanwhile, patients and hospital users, have been thanking the hardworking NHS staff at Christmas.

Carlisle mum Fiona Robson, whose 10-year-old son was recently diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1, said: “I would like to thank Carlisle hospital staff for their efficient and prompt care of my son who was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1.

“We were well educated and trained by diabetic nurses Julie Edge and Christine Carruthers. Dr Whitehead was so kind, gentle and easy to communicate with. Nathanael stayed on the ward for five days. The best thing was they allowed me to stay in a camp bed next to him.

“The food was amazing and the ward was so clean and comfortable. All staff were so caring, understanding and humorous.

“I really cannot praise the staff and facilities at Cumberland Infirmary enough.”

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