It’s been great to be out and about over the last few weeks; visiting members in Sheffield, London and the West Midlands on Friday. The vision, determination and dedication of each team member I have met and spoke with has been amazingly inspirational. From partnership plans in Sheffield, to volunteering at the Royal Free. Each person I met with (paid or volunteer) knew their role, had personal and collective vision, felt valued and understood how they made a difference.

I have identified 3 different elements present in each team I met. These are:

  1. A huge sense of pride: The type of pride you get when you know you ‘turned up’; you got stuck in; you made an impact. I think that level of pride, or maybe a better description is ‘sense of achievement’, comes when you stretch yourself to be the best you can be and you are given the space, responsibility and trust to accomplish your best.
  2. I experienced passion, commitment and desire to do and to achieve more. There was a hunger to raise more money, to give out more grants, to work in new partnerships, to deliver more services. To learn, to improve and to grow.
  3. The third thing was vision to overcome the ‘nay sayers’. One of the unique things about NHS Charities is the relationship with your Trust(s). This can feel stretched for many different reasons; one of those reasons is when appeals have to be dropped because big projects move or don’t go ahead. This can have huge impact on the NHS Charity on many levels. The success of the charities I have visited is that they are prepared to actively look or seek to do things differently. Be that partnering with other charities and agencies to benefit the health and well-being of their community or keeping ownership of buildings/projects/services rather to ‘giving them’ to their Trust. All these different ways of working massively benefit their Trust and ultimately are seen and valued by the Trust as adding huge value.

As a sector we are a widely diverse group of charities in size, capacity and governance; yet over the last few weeks I have experienced 3 elements that I believe all of us hold no matter our size, governance structure or resources.

These are: A huge sense of pride; a desire to do more and a passion to overcome the challenges.

With these 3 motivators there are no limits to what we as a sector can achieve individually and collectively to support the health and well-being of our nation.

‘True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it’ Daniel Goleman

Ellie Orton

Chief Exec, Association of NHS Charities


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