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Why we feel the difference at Virgin Care

What I love most about my job is that it is so varied and so different. I get to help make sure people have the freedom to be creative and transform the job they love – with added fun thrown in as well.

That’s because I oversee a fund that helps people help others whether patients or employees.  Not many people are lucky enough to be able to say that they love their job. I can.

I’m responsible for running colleague engagement activities and events across the organisation. I work independently, but Virgin Care’s community culture means I have an incredible support network to reach out to. And I have a very supportive line manager as well.

In fact, it makes me immensely proud to work for a company that genuinely cares for those it employs and wants to make a difference. I feel rewarded every single day knowing that what I do positively impacts others and that’s why I want to tell you more about our Feel the Difference Fund.

We allocate £100,000 a year for our Feel the Difference Fund. Absolutely any colleague or team in our organisation – frontline or corporate – can apply for funding for anything they feel will make a positive difference to our people or services.

Colleagues can use the money to transform something that already exists into something better or to kick start a brand new idea or project. It is a really special initiative and, as the chair of the fund, I get to see an idea become a reality and then watch how it benefits others. This gives me great job satisfaction.

We get around 10 fund applications a month and it’s important to stress that anyone in our organisation can apply. We really do want to hear about ideas that will make a difference to the work we do and the way we care for people who use our health and social services.

Now, getting back to the transformation and fun. This is a really great example of how the fund has been used to help people.

Matthew Wright, Therapy Lead, and colleagues in the Falls Prevention team in North Kent, applied to the Fund for money to buy some extra equipment that they believed would improve the way they cared for the people using their service.

Matthew had already built a well-established team to provide a dedicated and outstanding service to older patients who have suffered a fall. The funding has helped deliver group clinics with specialist equipment, music and games. These bring fun and laughter to the therapy sessions which have helped reduce the amount of falls the patients have and increased their confidence.

Matthew and his team were nominated for – and won – the Feel the Difference Fund Award at our recent awards night, an event I organise.


Our third annual Feel the Difference Awards ceremony was held at Warwick Castle. This is a special night out and our way of saying thank you to colleagues who have gone the extra mile and been nominated for doing something outstanding – basically, for going above and beyond the call of duty. It could be something they’ve done to change and consequently better a process, or something innovative, new and forward-thinking.

The awards are very special. They’re peer-to-peer nominated and the winners are chosen by a panel of colleagues from different parts of our organisation meaning there is representation from all around.


Some examples of the amazing awards this year included our Long Service Awards given to mark the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The two nurses presented with the awards, Marian Wetherall and Susan Davies, have each dedicated more than 50 years to caring for others.

Lucy Howard won the Heartfelt Service Award for not only always going the extra mile in everything she does, but for running a marathon. Lucy is a Finance Business Partner based in Surrey and she makes everyone around her feel special. She embodies the Virgin Care values most notably through pulling everyone in the team together and supporting frontline care colleagues by spending time with patients who appreciate a chat and a friendly face.

We have a culture at Virgin Care where we want people to feel a part of the organisation as a whole not just the team they work in – a place where everyone pulls together to make a difference. Our Feel the Difference Awards event – a fun filled evening of chatting, exchanging stories and meeting new people – plays into that aim.

The Feel the Difference Fund and the awards are great initiatives and I love the fact that I can say my job revolves around inspiring innovation and recognising the amazing talent we have in our organisation.

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