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WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO

Our Work

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The Friends are an independent group (& charity)  of people working within the hospital and the local community providing equipment or services not normally covered by the NHS.

Around the Hospital our work improves the environment for patients, staff and visitors.

The Friends continuously strive to support the medical staff in their caring duties, the patients during their stay in the hospital, or the loved ones who visit them.


We provide the many essential little ‘extras’ that enhance the patients’ well-being in all areas throughout the hospital. The Friends’ aim is to make their stay as comfortable and relaxing as it can be.

We are also keen supporters of projects which enable patients to be treated within the ‘Frome Health Park’ instead of travelling to hospitals elsewhere. We also lobby for local bus services and other community transport to assist patients and visitors to have easy access to the site

 

 

Outreach Programme in the Community:
The Friends’ remit also extends beyond working in the hospital, helping a range of local projects to provide specialist medical services in the Frome area through our Outreach Programme.


Recent help has been given to:

  • Positive Action on Cancer (PAC)

  • Harry’s Hydro

  • Wessex Counselling

  • Life Education Wessex (Health education in local schools)

  • The Leg Club

  • The Singing for the Brain Project

  • Carers’ courses run by the Alzheimer’s Society

  • Defibrillator Network within Frome and surrounding villages (Click here for details)

  • The Pod

  • Frome Volunteer Drivers

Help in the Hospital

Our work improves the environment for patients, staff and visitors. On occasions there are special events and meetings at the hospital where ‘welcome hosts’ have an important role to play.

Other Support we have given

£12k for Birthing Unit equipment.

A microwaves and Ipads for the Birthing Unit and Marshfield Ward,

Laptops to enable ‘home working’ during lockdown,

Equipment for Minor Injuries Unit.

Repair and restoration in conjunction with Men’s Shed of:

  • the furniture on the balconies,

  • the upkeep of the Therapy Garden

  • the Staff Garden.

Support of Somerset Foundation NHS Trust Research Nurse’ s work on dementia in the elderly

Support of International Nurse's Day ( Nurse Alison is pictured with her goodie bag and raffle prizes)

Donation of  "games" to Chantry Hospital).

Friends of Frome Hospital - A Brief History

Frome Victoria Hospital, The Vic, as it became fondly known by the people of Frome, was built in 1897 and formally opened in 1901. Donations were made by the Prince of Wales, Marquis of Bath and the Duke of Somerset. The cost, including all the fittings was £5000!


To support the new Hospital, The Friends of Frome Victoria Hospital, was formed in 1925.


Throughout the 1900s support was given by The Friends for the various works, refurbishments and extensions being undertaken at the hospital. In 1995 plans were under consideration to demolish and rebuild the hospital. The Friends
had been dormant for some years but in 1998 they were rejuvenated with the specific objective of fighting for a new hospital for Frome. A Centenary Fund was opened, chaired by Peter Smith, for the sole purpose of raising money to purchase equipment; the target was £75,000.

A new FROME VIC logo was designed portraying a doctor, nurse and a patient. This logo has been retained by the Friends of the Hospital, recognising the respect for the old VIC in the community.


The Friends were recognised by the Mendip Primary Care Trust as representing the community in discussions regarding the design of the new hospital. There were a number of occasions when it seemed that the hospital would never happen and the head of the Primary Care Trust was heard to say “I DARE NOT tell the people of Frome that they will not get a new hospital”.
However, in 2001 the Mendip Primary Care Trust confirmed the building, in Frome, of a Community Hospital funded direct by the NHS. Building work commenced in October 2006 and the hospital received its first patients in June 2008. It was formally opened by The Countess of Wessex in October 2008.

Throughout the discussion and design stages, on behalf of the community, the Friends had been represented by Dr. John Moxon and Peter Smith (Chair and Vice Chair of the Friends), who were both given Civic Awards by Frome Town Council for the work that they had put in to achieve the new hospital. The work of Dr. Moxon was also recognised with the Meeting Room in the new hospital being named ‘The Moxon Suite’.


The sum of £75,000 was the aim that the Friends set themselves but appears to have been a somewhat low target, as during the period 1999 to 2008 the Friends raised in excess of £600k for the hospital. This enabled the funding of a wealth of equipment which would not have been available through the NHS and included state of the art X ray equipment and a
Therapy Garden. This sum was only achieved with the overwhelming generosity and support from the local community. That support came in the form of numerous fund raising activities by small and larger groups together with major events such as “Jazz on a Summer Evening” and a cricket match between Frome CC and the Lords Taverners. The community support is
recognised, in the main reception area, by two plaques which give acknowledgement to both the local community and local employers.

 

Over the twenty years or so since the decision to replace the Frome Vic and the launch of the Centenary Fund, over £900k has been raised. The Friends have continued to support the Hospital and also what has become ‘The Health Park’, with over £750k (ten times the original target) going to purchasing new and replacement equipment and of course, nor
forgetting support for the dedicated hospital staff.
Over more recent years, the Friends have extended their 'work' beyond the Health Park, with various projects in the community. During this time, over £150k has been spent on large and small projects, The Frome Area Leg Club, which is held by a team from The Frome Medical Practice where patients can drop in for Leg Ulcer treatment, dry/wet
legs, hosiery and Well Leg Advice. Life Education Wessex a local charity who help to effectively communicate healthy lifestyle messages and empower children aged 3 - 13 with the knowledge, skills and self confidence to make positive healthy decisions and stay safe in schools . Last, and by no means least, the defibrillator project. A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high energy shock is called defibrillation , and it's an essential part in trying to save the life of someone who's in cardiac arrest. The Friends together with support with local communities, have installed around the town and in several local villages. a network of 26 public defibrillators .
For a list of Defibrillator locations, click here. 

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