Going from beige to brilliant: Fundraising for a better environment for everyone

You know that your existing ward is gloomy and uninspiring and it definitely doesn’t reflect the efficient, professional and caring approach that you and your team pride yourselves on.

But how do you go about transforming it into an inspiring and uplifting place for your patients without having to pay for the work yourself?

There are numerous charities in the UK who support the costs of enhancing environments within hospitals. Like you, they understand how much of a difference a person’s surroundings can make, whether they are patients, carers or staff. The support is there and you’re ready to make it happen.

So, what do you need to do?

Be prepared to make your case!

All that resilience built up through years of nursing is going to come in handy when you’re talking money. You don’t need me to tell you that hospitals can be tight fisted and charities often need some gentle persuasion too, so securing funding to brighten your ward will sometimes feel like a war of attrition. If your hospital has its own charity, this may be your first choice for funding, though it’s worth bearing in mind that they nearly always have huge demands on their funds. This often leads to them prioritising donations for medical equipment rather than ward improvements and whilst the reasoning is understandable, it’s still frustrating when you have patients sat on lumpy chairs. If you have one, a hospital charity is a great place to start but it’s wise to look for other sources of funding too. Local or national charities and local companies are often some of the best avenues to explore. Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, for example, often fund enhancements in hospitals. Some charities have their own application process to follow so your first port of call should be to ask them what they’re going to ask you.

Know what you want to achieve

Each ward is different and the way to cheer each one up will be different too. It can be as simple as adding some large-scale vinyl images or it could be a total Trinny and Susannah makeover. A total revamp might involve getting designs produced so that you have something to show people when you ask for their support. Getting them drawn up will carry a cost in itself, so you’ll need to get those funded first before you start thinking about fixtures and fittings.

Provide a valid case

You may have a vision for your newly enhanced ward but it’s a good idea to ask other users of the space what they think too. Patients, carers, other nurses and doctors are going to be using it to work, get better and support loved ones so asking them what they think of the ward now and what they think would improve it can help you strengthen your case for funding. Part of your proposal should explain what the benefits of improving the ward will be. They can be anything from improving a patient’s feeling of well-being to improving staff morale. These can be powerful motivators for hospital management. They have their own targets to meet in offering the best model of care so, if you can make a strong case for an environment that helps users feel calm and comfortable during their stay, they are more likely to support you.

Get permission to progress the project

Most charities want to know that their donations will bear fruit and be seen and used for at least 5 years so there’s no point approaching them to fund your project if your ward service is moving in 5 months. Hospital management will know if there are plans to relocate any departments in the near future so always ask, just in case. If there’s a team of you working together, nominate a project champion who is passionate about getting things improved and can communicate with various departments within the hospital. You’ll need the support of your immediate line manager, matron, ward manager or the senior nursing staff. Once they’re on board, they can open doors for you.

See if there are existing funds available

If your hospital does have its own charity they may well have received donations from patients, or relatives of patients, who have been treated on your ward. They may be in what’s called a ‘restricted fund’, meaning they can only be used to benefit that particular ward.

Remember, charities exist to spend money so if you can provide a good way for them to comply with their charter and subsidise a successful project, you’re in a good position to secure their support. Are you still with me? I said you’d need all that nursing resilience… Find out who you need to speak to in estates but also in infection control.

So many projects fail because these departments are presented with a fait accompli and are not consulted during the process.

Make the ask

Once you’ve gathered your ammunition and supporting information, approach the charity. Remember, the worst they can say is no. Go for gold but have a silver or bronze version of the ask prepared in case the full project can’t be funded. If this is the case, it may be worth engaging with other charities too. And then, if and when you have a positive response…

Get ready to make it happen

This is when the fun starts. It’s also when many people are put off by the red tape that needs negotiating and the hoops that need to be jumped through. Grosvenor can help you negotiate with relevant departments and assist with various administrative elements, from complying with regulations to notifying the estates and everything in between.

Once it’s done

Shout about what you’ve achieved and be proud of it. Get some publicity, ask your communications department to help, get a celebrity to do an official opening and ask your Chief Executive to come down for the big unveiling. They’ll appreciate being able to get involved with a good news story rather than dealing with something else that’s gone wrong. Completing a second project off the back of your first being a success is much easier, too. It’s sometimes worth doing a smaller area in a more substantial way than trying to spread a small amount over a large area so that people can see exactly what can be done. This should inspire and motivate them to do more fundraising to improve other areas.

Prepare for the glory

This is your gold medal moment, your victory lap, your time to shine. Of course, you’ll want to get back to the real work of making people better but take some time to accept the inevitable praise that will come for making their environment better too. And be ready for others to come and ask how you did it.

Ready to get started?

Grosvenor Interiors can support your improvement project in a number of different ways. We are experts in transforming wards into welcoming and uplifting environments to benefit everyone that uses them. So, if you need someone to develop your design ideas, help with the administration and red tape or someone to simply make your ward the best it can be, get in touch today, using our contact us page or by calling 01892 600400, let us help you help make your hospital better

Thanks to our involvement with Grosvenor Interiors and gifts from our generous supporters, Leicester Hospitals Charity has had a significant impact on patient environment within the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Several key areas inside our Hospitals have been given a “facelift” with the use of colour, design and bespoke furniture. We have formed a good working relationship with Grosvenor who have created quality branding and themes we are proud of and more importantly, have made a huge difference to our patients stay and well-being.

Debbie Adlerstein – Leicester Hospitals Charity