Happy 5th birthday, Feeding Buddies!
21 March 2013
Southend Hospital chairman Alan Tobias and a host of nursing staff lined up to pay tribute to the ‘fantastic’ work of hospital’s red-tabarded Feeding Buddies at a celebration lunch to mark the 5th anniversary of the scheme starting on the wards.
The hospital now has more than 90 of the specially-trained
volunteers who help and encourage frail and elderly patients to eat
and drink up at mealtimes.
But it needs many more to lend a hand and support busy ward
Helping to cut the birthday cake, Mr Tobias told the Buddies:
"The care you give to patients and the help you give to our staff
is inspirational. We cannot thank you enough."
Ward manager Andrea Turner came up with the idea of enlisting
voluntary helpers back in 2007 after becoming concerned that her
poorly patients weren't eating enough.
Andrea contacted voluntary services manager Christine Miller,
who began a recruitment drive and the scheme was eventually
Two of the original Feeding Buddies, Mick Crane and Kathleen
Lewis, are pictured here. "It's been an absolutely brilliant
success," added Andrea.
The hospital is believed to have been the first Trust in the
country to introduce such an initiative and has had enquiries from
many other healthcare organisations interested in doing the same
thing. "The role you play here makes us the envy of a lot of other
hospitals I go to elsewhere, believe me," said catering manager
These volunteers receive full training and support from the
hospital's nursing directorate.
Fiona Mowatt, Estuary ward manager, was just one of several
senior nurses who made speeches praising the Buddies' contribution.
"We are an extremely busy ward and you do an absolutely fantastic
and marvellous job," she added.
The lunch took place in National Nutrition and Hydration week
run by the campaign group Patient Safety First to reinforce and
focus energy, activity and engagement on nutrition and hydration as
an important part of patient safety improvement.
Interested in becoming a Buddy? Please contact Jane O'Connell or
Chris Miller 01702 435555 ext 6135 for more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org