League of Friends thrilled to be back supporting NHS staff and patients after reopening South Tyneside District Hospital shop after 18 months closed

A group of dedicated volunteers are back supporting NHS staff and patients in hospital – and are inviting neighbours to get involved.

The League of Friends members reopened their shop inside South Tyneside District Hospital in December – 18 months after being forced to close in March 2020 as the Covid pandemic swept the world.

Founded in 1949, the League of Friends of South Tyneside Hospitals is one of the oldest NHS voluntary groups, raising money through the likes of its shop in the main entrance of South Tyneside District Hospital’s Ingham Wing, to provide patients and staff with extra comforts and equipment.

Members say they are delighted to be back open, supporting both patients and NHS staff, and are encouraging members of the community to join the group at their annual general meeting, which will take place at The Little Haven Hotel, on March 22 at 10am.

South Tyneside League of Friends, From left Dorothy Rogers and Maureen Young.

Secretary of the South Tyneside League of Friends, Dorethy Rogers, 81, said: “It’s great to be back in the hospital after a long 18 or so months, supporting who we can in any way possible.

"As long as we can cover the costs we have we want to continue supporting staff and patients. Our volunteers have been desperate to get opened up again and we’re so glad to be back in the hospital.

“We encourage all members of the community to join for our annual general meeting in March.”

The League has around 80 volunteers who are aged from people in their 50s to those in their 80s.

Pre-Covid, the charity shop inside the hospital would raise around £60,000-£80,000, however due to the lack of visitors and closed off wards, Dorothy admits the figure will currently be far lower.

The money raised by the shop goes back to the hospital and is used to find a variety of things, such as new and potentially life saving equipment.

The League of Friends annual general meeting will take place at The Little Haven Hotel, on March 22nd at 10am.

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