NHS workers have raised more than £20,000 for a Dorset and Wiltshire charity that helps poorly young people and their families – by sparing a penny of their wages.
Each month, staff at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust have donated spare pennies from their monthly pay packets to Julia’s House children’s hospices, which provide clinical, practical and emotional support for families with a child suffering from a life-limiting illness.
The money has been raised over the last 12 years, through the Pennies from Heaven scheme, which rounds down people’s take-home pay to the nearest pound, diverting any surplus pennies to a good cause.
And Mike Bartlett, deputy CEO at Julia’s House, said the NHS workers’ contributions were gratefully received.
“Some parents liken having a child with a life-limiting condition to being on a permanent rollercoaster, when even a typical day can suddenly become a terrifying blue-light ambulance journey to the hospital,” he said.
“We are there to help families with the most challenging and toughest of days, as well as being there to ensure they’re able to make the most of every day.
“And our respite care enables them to rest, spend time with other siblings, go out as a family or even have a date night – not easy when you are caring 24/7.
“This highly individual and vital care wouldn’t be there without the support of amazing people like the staff at Dorset HealthCare.
“This kind of regular income over a long period of time is invaluable to Julia’s House, especially during tough economic times. A huge thank-you goes from these families and everyone at Julia’s House.”
Leanne Mercer, staff benefits co-ordinator at the Trust, said: “Our staff pick three charities each year to support, and Julia’s House is chosen each time – it’s a fantastic charity which supports the child and the family.
“We are pleased we can make a difference to a very worthy local cause and be part of something doing good.
“Pennies from Heaven is such an easy way for our staff to donate to charity without really noticing. Each month any spare pennies from their pay gets deducted and goes into the charity pot. We would recommend more local organisations take part to fundraise for charity in a really simple way.”
In total, Dorset HealthCare has raised more than £49,000 for various charities through the scheme, earning the Trust a gold award quality mark from Pennies from Heaven, which demonstrates dedication and support to society.