Staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have been praised for helping the Salvation Army to support lonely and impoverished patients this Christmas.
Staff and visitors donated food and bedding at a stall run by the Patient Experience Team at the hospital before the festive season.
Beverley Taylor, from the Salvation Army’s Bridge Project at The Citadel in Blackpool, said: “People we see regularly are like our family and when they are in hospital we visit them and provide them with essential items.
“We are seen as the ‘next of kin’ for some people. We’re often the first people to ring the hospital when one of our clients is ill.
“It’s very sad when people are all alone.
“We have a fantastic relationship with Blackpool Victoria Hospital. Many of the nurses and sisters will ring us up and say they have such and such on the ward.
People we see regularly are like our family and when they are in hospital we visit them and provide them with essential itemsBeverley Taylor
“We always want to know if our clients are in hospital so we can support them. We can also give practical support such as helping them with their benefits and making sure they have food when they go home.
“It’s much harder for people at this time of year. People can feel very lonely and they can struggle to pay their fuel bills.”
Beverley said the team of four staff and nearly 40 volunteers at The Citadel try to provide the best Christmas possible for people who use their services.
The Salvation Army is grateful to receive donations of food, blankets and money to help underprivileged people as it costs £80,000 per year to run its services.
The charity supports people over the age of 26 and younger people are supported by the Streetlife project in Blackpool. An average of 50 people per day use the Salvation Army’s services in Blackpool and more than 2,000 people are on the charity’s books in the resort.
Speaking at the donation event at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Beverley added: “I didn’t expect the staff and visitors at the hospital to be quite so generous with their donations.
“It has been really overwhelming.
“I didn’t think we would be given so much. Food is the biggest need for us. We rely on donations.
“Everything is used to capacity with us.
“We don’t know from one year to the next if we will be able to carry on but we always find a way.
“We change people’s lives and we save people’s lives.”
Donations of food can be made at The Citadel off Church Street in the centre of Blackpool. If anyone wishes to donate other items please call the Blackpool Salvation Army’s main reception first on 01253 626114.