Objectives of the League of Friends
A 'Registered Charity', the primary objective of the League of Friends is to raise funds in order to provide additional facilities and services in Bridgwater hospital in addition to those provided by the NHS Trust. These facilities may include both equipment and amenities for patients and staff.
The League of Friends was founded on 23rd November 1955 when there were three hospitals in Bridgwater. The Bridgwater Hospital was in Salmon Parade, Northgate Lodge (later known as Blake Hospital) was in Northgate and the Mary Stanley Nursing Home was in Castle Street. Over the years all three of the old hospitals closed and were replaced in 2015 by the new Bridgwater Community Hospital on Bower Lane.
The first presentations made by the League were in October 1956 and took the form of two Parker Knoll chairs (costing the princely sum of £12 each) for Bridgwater Hospital, two angle-poise lamps (£10 each) for Northgate and two Parker Knoll wheeled armchairs (£13 each) for Mary Stanley. From a total spend of £70 in 1956, 2017 saw the League purchase equipment for the hospital costing over £31,500. Since those first donations, well over £673,000 has been raised for the benefit of Bridgwater hospitals.
Current League Membership
The League is now based at the Community Hospital and has a current membership of 18 who meet monthly to plan and discuss fund raising and other League activities.
All members of the League are volunteers and receive no payment for their time or expertise. Funds are raised solely for the benefit of Bridgwater Community Hospital and are not diverted to other parts of the NHS or to any other organisation.
Ongoing Support to the Hospital
As well as purchasing equipment which is needed by the hospital, the League also supports patients with a trolley service for the ward on a regular basis, by providing Christmas cheer (in addition to standard Christmas fayre) and by giving a Christmas gift to every patient who is in hospital over the Christmas period. We also organise activities on the ward for special occasions.
Funds are raised from occasional legacies and donations, many of which are made in memory of former patients of the hospital. In addition the League regularly holds fund raising events such as Summer Fayres, Winter Fetes, Auction of Promises, Coffee Mornings, Quiz Nights and Horse Racing Nights.
We are extremely grateful to local business and individuals for their support and to the 50 or so local traders who have allowed us to locate our collection boxes on their premises.
The League also produces and sells its own Christmas Cards which are available from Hospital Departments starting the middle of October and later at the Blackmore Farm Shop in Cannington.