More tea, vicar? Oxfordshire Company’s gesture to NHS Volunteers for Volunteers’ Week

This week marks Volunteers’ Week (1st-7th June) – an annual celebration organised by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), recognising the contributions that millions of volunteers make across the country. To celebrate, Banbury’s Radio Horton has been working with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Voluntary Services department in arranging an afternoon tea package courtesy of a local catering company, to be delivered to hospital volunteers across Oxfordshire, including some Radio Horton volunteers.

The Afternoon Tea package supplied by Oxford Fine Dining Ltd
The Afternoon Tea package supplied by Oxford Fine Dining Ltd

In the last ten weeks, Oxford Fine Dining have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support hospital staff through the Oxford Hospitals Charity by preparing and delivering between over four thousand meals to date, for NHS staff staying in local hotels, as they are unable to return home for fear of infecting their families.

With the catering firm’s unwavering support for the charity, they were put in contact with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Voluntary Services department, who approached them to deliver two hundred traditional afternoon teas throughout Oxfordshire on Tuesday 2nd June 2020.

The Voluntary Services department would ordinarily host an annual afternoon tea celebration to say thank you to the volunteers for the invaluable contribution of their time, supporting health and care services within the community. With this event no longer an option due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department wanted to pay tribute to the volunteers by bringing the event to them.
The prospect of preparing traditional afternoon teas was no problem for the Weston-on-the-Green based catering firm. Delivering them to two hundred individual households across Oxfordshire, however, was another challenge, but Oxford Fine Dining knew they had to do whatever it took to support this event.

Sue Randall, Managing Director at Oxford Fine Dining told Radio Horton: “We had been working with the Oxford Hospitals Charity and were put in touch with the OUH Voluntary Services Department who asked if we could deliver afternoon teas to hospital volunteers. It’s rewarding for us to be able to help and to have a purpose or focus to come into work each day, we want to give something back to the community.”

Sue and her team called upon event industry partners to bring their expertise and time to pull off the challenge. Each NHS volunteer will receive a beautifully packaged afternoon tea box containing: Homemade fruit scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream, freshly picked strawberries, a selection of finger sandwiches with traditional fillings, white chocolate and raspberry blondie, triple chocolate brownie, hand crafted chocolates, local craft beer for the gentleman and a mini floral bouquet for the ladies.

Bill & Jen Warren posing with their tea packages

Radio Horton's Tom & Olga Wilson receiving their afternoon tea   Radio Horton's Sam & Verity Smette receiving their afternoon tea delivery

Radio Horton Chairman, Anthony Brown said: “We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Sue, her team and their industry partners for pulling together to pay tribute to our volunteers during Volunteers’ Week.”“We may be marking the occasion in rather abnormal circumstances, but we really are grateful to each and every volunteer, not just our volunteers within Radio Horton, but right across the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Every contribution each person makes really does help make a difference to a patient, their family member or our hospital staff on the frontline.”Recently, the hospital, health and wellbeing radio station, which celebrates fifty-six years of broadcasting next month has been continuing to provide patients at the Horton General Hospital and residents of local Banburyshire care homes with its diverse range of programming and a joint venture with local theatre group, Voices Across Time in addition relaying important messages from the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and promoting the work of the Horton General Hospital Charity.

Radio Horton President and popular BBC Countryfile Presenter, John Craven OBE added his thanks to Radio Horton volunteers: “May I say a huge thank-you to all Radio Horton volunteers who have been doing such a fantastic job during the pandemic. I know that your efforts have been much appreciated over many years by your listeners in wards and care homes but in these troubling times friendly voices over the airwaves have become more important than ever.”

Family members and friends can also leave messages for friends or relatives in the Horton General Hospital which are then relayed on some of Radio Horton’s programmes thereby connecting patients and their families at a time when they may not be able to visit them. The telephone number is 01295 404104.

Craven continues: “Extra welcome has been Radio Horton’s new voicemail box – a vital link between friends and families and their loved ones in hospital and care homes, with messages between them being included during your live shows. And as I know, it is no easy task broadcasting from home, as you’ve been doing – I’ve just presented Countryfile from my garden!”

“So, my very best wishes to all of you during Volunteers Week and thank you again on behalf of all your grateful listeners.”

The hospital radio station first launched in 1964 by local journalists, Ted Hanson MBE and Graham Wilton. The core principles of the station were built on volunteering, with the fundamental aim to provide light entertainment, reassurance, and a friend at the bedside to patients in hospital by playing their favourite choices of music. To this day, that spirit and pride from volunteering lives on within the station’s membership who are all passionate about making a difference to those in hospital or respite.

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