OXFORD Hospitals Charity has celebrated funding projects worth £250,000 through its small grants programme as the deadline for the next round of applications approaches.

The charity launched the scheme in July 2018 and since then more than 200 staff have successfully bid for funding of up to £3,000 to make a difference to patients and staff at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH).

Hazel Murray, head of programme at Oxford Hospitals Charity, said: “Small grants came out of one of the trust’s listening events, where it became clear that there was a wealth of great ideas among staff of all levels, but the funding to get them off the ground wasn’t always available.

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"We immediately saw the potential and within a couple of months launched the scheme, which runs alongside all our other funding routes."

Ms Murray said the charity had been 'overwhelmed' by how successful the scheme had been, adding: "It’s fabulous to be able to work so closely with staff, making their great ideas a reality.”

Recent successful bids include: a tracheotomy dummy for ‘tea trolley training’ in critical care, weighted ‘zaky hands’ to comfort premature babies, dementia-friendly red walking frames to help vulnerable patients, and boards to aid young patients with speech and language difficulties.

Chris Gough, who works in critical care, received a grant in 2019 to help fund the innovative ‘tea trolley training’ scheme, which brings ten minute slots of bite-size teaching directly to hospital staff in their clinical setting.

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He said: "The equipment that we have purchased through the small grants programme has already allowed us to do more than 500 education episodes for staff in the intensive care units - helping transform the way we can ensure that staff are always learning and enhancing their skills whilst still delivering the best care to patients."

The latest window for OUH staff to make an application via the charity’s website is open until March 1.