DurhamWorks staff donate toys and equipment for young people in Durham hospital

Charitable council staff have donated toys and equipment to help young people receiving care at a Durham City hospital.

Kind-hearted members of Durham County Council’s DurhamWorks team collected gifts and essential equipment for the Tree Tops ward and Children’s A&E department of University North Durham Hospital.

The DurhamWorks team works with unemployed young people aged 16 to24 years old, helping them be successful in gaining education, training and employment opportunities.

In the run-up to Christmas, it gifted pyjamas to children in the region’s hospitals as part of a festive charity appeal and staff have chosen to continue their acts of goodwill with further donations to worthy causes throughout the year.

Over a period of two weeks, the team collected £115. The money was used to purchase four children’s potties to ensure that young children felt happy to use the toilet facilities whilst in the hospital’s care. They also bought a range of gifts, toys and arts and crafts sets to improve the patient experience and make the departments less intimidating for their young visitors.

Hannah Fenwick, DurhamWorks employer engagement officer, said: “We are so pleased to be able to support the children and young people’s services at University Hospital North Durham. It’s a great feeling to know that our donations can make a child’s visit or stay more comfortable and welcoming.”

Pat Chambers, charity development manager at Your NHS Charity, said: “We are thoroughly delighted to have received this wonderful donation and much needed support from the team at DurhamWorks for our children’s wards and clinics at University Hospital of North Durham.

“We welcome businesses, organisations or individuals getting in touch if they can help us, as with over 500 children per week passing through just our paediatric emergency unit alone, we go through an awful lot of toys. People can donate throughout the year and our departments and visitors are always extremely grateful for support.”

DurhamWorks, which is funded by the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative, is a partnership programme between Durham County Council, Groundwork North East & Yorkshire, Springboard North East and Cornforth Partnership.

The project offers one-to-one, personalised support to young people to help them remain in or move into education, employment or training, and to shape their own future.

Young people living in County Durham can access a range of flexible support, including information, advice and guidance; help to access qualifications, work experience and training opportunities; peer mentoring; and support with job searches, applications and interviews.

The team also offers support to help young people develop the skills required to become self-employed, including matching young people with employer mentors, and can also help to identify volunteering opportunities.

Employers and young people can receive help to access grants and funding where appropriate.

The programme, which has already supported 8,700 young people, aims to support another 4,500 young people before it concludes at the end of December 2023.

Young people aged 16 to 24 years, and their family members, can find out more about DurhamWorks by visiting https://durhamworks.info/, where they can also take part in an online chat with an advisor.

Donations to the Your NHS Charity fund can be made via www.justgiving.com/cddft or by texting YOURNHS to 70480 which provides the charity with a £5 donation.