HR2day Limited and MN Consultancy have joined forces to support the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Charity (CDDFT Charity) by funding a project to help children receiving outpatient care in hospitals in County Durham and Darlington.

The two firms have donated almost £3,500 to the charity to bring the project to life and obtain feedback that will be used to evidence quality of care, patient experience and improve services for children and young people, including those with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

The CAISY robot is designed to help children and young people give feedback about their treatment and care in a fun and engaging way, allowing staff to see what is working.

The robot will also utilise an app, allowing children to still provide feedback via CAISY even if they are unable to attend hospital due to lockdown restrictions.

CDDFT has collaborated with a group of children and young people from Investing in Children Durham (IIC) who assisted with the initial design and specification process for CAISY and, as a result, a first stage prototype has been developed with students from Teesside University School of Science, Engineering and Design.

Using the funds provided by the firm, this investment will see the CAISY Prototype delivered to the hospitals within seven months.

Nicky Jolley, founder and managing director of HR2day, said: “Many local charities have been hit extremely hard by COVID-19, particularly because people impacted by the lockdown and job losses are less able to donate.

“CDDFT Charity is a fantastic cause and the CAISY project is so innovative, we were delighted to do what we could to help.”

Mark Jolley, managing director and specialist independent financial adviser at MN Consultancy, said: “When we heard that the CDDFT Charity needed support in bringing CAISY to life to help children and young people give their feedback on their care and treatment, we jumped at the chance to help.

“Community is more important than ever at the moment, and we need to help each other when we can.”

Pat Chambers, charity development manager at CDDFT Charity said: “This is such a fabulous project and we were truly humbled when Nicky and Mark agreed to fund the CAISY Prototype for use in our hospitals without any hesitation at all.

“During these most challenging of times it is fabulous to see research and innovation creating new solutions and even more importantly, local businesses being inspired to help ensure this vision becomes a reality.

“We cannot thank them both enough – very grateful to them and can’t wait to be inviting them into our hospital to see the real thing!”

Dr Kirsty Yates, clinical lead community & developmental paediatrics, said: “I would like to thank the investors for supporting this project! It will mean that children and young people have the opportunity to share their views about the hospital care they receive in a fun and interactive way.  Feedback from children and young people is so important in helping us improve services and delivering care which is centred around the needs of our patients.”