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How your donations made a difference to the Glangwili Estates team

Pictured: the revitalised Estates team rest area in Glangwili Hospital.


The funds you donate and raise for your NHS charity – however big or small – have a big impact on the lives of patients, their families and staff. Recently we were able to use charitable funds to transform rest areas for staff across the health board to really boost their wellbeing.

At the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic it was increasingly apparent that rest areas were needed for staff experiencing burn out and exhaustion so that they could rest and recover. This was one of the priorities identified by the health board’s Discovery Report which aimed to better understand the experiences of staff in the wake of the pandemic.

NHS Charities Together, the national charity supporting NHS charities, raised £160 million throughout the pandemic, thanks to generous donations and support from the public across the UK.

NHS Charities Together grant funding was used to create revitalised rest areas for staff across Hywel Dda University Health Board. In 2022-23, over £200,000 of charitable funds was spent on creating and improving rest areas across all health board sites in the three counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Funds were allocated to each County Partnership Forum, which bring together NHS Wales employers and trade union/professional bodies to improve health and care services. The funding was allocated based on headcount in each county, with each Partnership Forum submitting funding proposals outlining how they would like to spend the funding within their counties.

Hywel Dda Partnership Forum Staffside Chair Anthony Dean, a Unite the Union representative working in Estates, said: "Carmarthenshire Partnership Forum worked together to identify teams and areas in real need of revitalised rest areas. This happened in all three counties with the aim of making a difference to the wellbeing of colleagues across the health board."

The Estates team in Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen was identified as one of the teams which would greatly benefit from an improved rest area, along with 38 other teams. Asked how they felt about their staff room space in its current state, team members said:
“Not fit for purpose.”
“I have worked here for 15 and a half years and do not want to use it.”

The Estates team received funds to transform their rest area from a space nobody wanted to use to a room which they look forward to using during break times, team meetings and events.

The Estates team had a vision of what they wanted, including ditching a “dumping ground” to the left of the kitchen which was only hidden by sliding doors. With the funding they were able to convert this space into a toilet and changing room facility, allowing for individual locker space for each worker.

The funding meant that new furniture and items were purchased for the space, making it a much more inviting and therapeutic environment, with new doors, windows and a paint job elevating the space further. The improved rest area also included a new remembrance wall devoted to those they have lost, as the team felt it was important to have space in the room to hang pictures of colleagues sadly no longer with them.

Thanks to the charitable funding, the team has seen a marked improvement in wellbeing. Team members report that the space has significantly improved “team togetherness” and “mental health”, and that they enjoy having a space to relax in which is private and separate from the managers.

Comments on the new space from team members include:
“Space for all to enjoy.”
“Much, much improved!”
“Fits our growing workforce.”
“Somewhere I can go to get away from it.”
“Somewhere to spend time with colleagues.”
“Safe space.”

One team member said: “We had to have team meetings down in the yard before, now it is possible to have them in the room and have all 32 of us seated. New desks, new chairs, we chose the colour scheme to make it pop – we wanted a bit of a Premier Inn feel! New windows, new doors. All members of the team came together to create a vision. We even managed to upgrade the 1980s electrics – we now have a full spec TV on the wall to enjoy in the background and catch up on the sport!"

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