North East Connected

Freeman’s Children’s Heart Unit Shop Celebrates £250,000 Milestone

THE Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) Shop, located at the entrance of the Children’s Heart Unit at Freeman Hospital and run by volunteers, celebrates £250,000 in takings as it reaches its 5th birthday, with all profits donated towards helping support children who are born with or develop heart conditions.

With support from his wife, 70-year-old Arthur Campbell MBE manages the CHUF Shop in the Freeman Hospital which involves shift rotas, accounts, sourcing and ordering stock and standing in when others cannot make their shift. He oversees over 18 volunteers who also help at the CHUF shop which is open seven days a week, 50 weeks of the year.

Arthur said: “The CHUF Shop opened on the 10th February 2015 with five volunteers for the whole week, and some of us are still there now – Ken, Brenda, Muriel and Audrey. Since opening five years ago the takings have now reached £250,000. After paying for stock our profit margin is 40% which goes directly to helping the children and their families on Ward 23 (the Children’s Heart Unit).

“Over the five years we have had over 60 volunteers support the shop, who are mainly supplied from the NHS Voluntary Service based in the Regent Centre Gosforth. Our volunteers are made up from parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, patients, students from high schools, colleges and university, and other volunteers from all walks of life.

“Our little CHUF shop mainly sells hot and cold beverages, confectionery, biscuits, snacks, personal hygiene products, promotional items, toys, fancy goods and greetings cards, meaning parents are able to access refreshments easily whilst remaining in close proximity to their child on the ward.”

Since opening in 2015, the CHUF shop has proven to be an absolute lifeline for not only families and staff on The Children’s Heart Unit but also patients, visitors and personnel from across the whole hospital.

Charlotte Campbell, director of fundraising and operations at CHUF, said: “Arthur has been involved with CHUF since his youngest son, David, was admitted to Ward 23 in July 1983. He joined CHUF’s fundraising committee in December that year.

“Since he started volunteering for CHUF in 1983, Arthur has helped to raise in excess of ten million pounds for the charity. The money raised has gone towards and continues to go towards funding life-saving equipment, special services and lifelong support for children who are born with or develop heart conditions and their families.

“We can’t thank Arthur enough for all the support and love he’s shown CHUF over the past 37 years. The CHUF board of trustees would like to thank all present and past volunteers who have contributed to help raise this outstanding amount.”

Due to school exams and students going off to universities, the CHUF Shop is always looking for new volunteers. To get involved with volunteering, call Alison or Jill at the NHS Voluntary Service on 0191 2823307 or 0191 2823524.

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