Virgin Care works with the NHS and local authorities and operates more than 400 health and social care services in England. Driven by its purpose, to change lives by transforming health and care, the health care provider invested more than £65,000 into colleague projects and ideas to make a difference last year.
The investment was made through a scheme known as the Feel the Difference Fund. It’s a £100,000 pot of money, available annually, which funds grants to colleagues who apply with a project which will benefit their colleagues or service users.
Funding decisions are made by a panel of ‘peers’ comprising of more than 200 employees from across different areas of the organisation with different perspectives. A maximum of £10,000 is available in a single grant.
From March 2020 to March 2021, 41 projects were submitted by employees with 34 awarded a grant to deliver their project.
Some of the innovative projects delivered in the year include:
- The purchase of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices to help children in Essex with complex needs and learning difficulties to communicate effectively.
- Delivering Christmas stockings to elderly and isolated patients across Bath and North East Somerset.
- Piloting new ways of supporting HIV and Combined Hormonal Contraceptives (CHC) patients at one of Virgin Care’s sexual health services during the pandemic.
- Introducing a new mental health initiative in North Kent to equip employees with physical tools geared towards making the work environment a place for open and positive conversation, reinforcing the importance of mental wellbeing.
- Signing up and adopting the Hidden Disabilities Scheme across Bath and North East Somerset services, increasing awareness of disability and removing discrimination.
The Feel the Difference Fund gave out fewer grants last year because colleagues were focused on the pandemic response, but the innovation continued through these successful projects. Many Virgin Care services also transformed through the adoption of virtual delivery last year, enabling services otherwise paused to continue, whilst ensuring patient and colleague safety in line with COVID regulations.
The Feel the Difference Fund is part of a wider colleague engagement, collaboration and recognition programme which also includes awards that recognise and celebrate employees who go above and beyond to deliver great care – and change lives by transforming health and care services.
Samantha Kane, Chief People Officer at Virgin Care said, “The Feel the Difference Fund is a fantastic way to support colleagues to be creative and innovative, piloting projects that will benefit our service users. We know that some of the best ideas and the ones that really make a difference come from our colleagues on the front line. This scheme unlocks that potential and reminds us of how incredible our health and care colleagues are.”
“After a challenging year, I’m proud that we were able to deliver some innovative new initiatives across the organisation, and already in 2021 we have funded some exciting ideas that will undoubtedly drive positive outcomes for our service users and change lives through transforming health and care.”
We’re encouraging healthcare professionals of all ages to attend a Recruitment Open Day at Farnham Hospital and Centre for Health.
A 43-strong roving immunisation team has been bringing COVID-19 vaccinations to the clinically vulnerable and hard to reach communities in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES),
Our Lancashire Healthy Young People and Families Service has trained a new team of volunteers who will soon be providing support to parents in Burnley, helping them to develop their skills and give their children the best start in life.
Through innovative service design, the development of new career pathways and with a focus on inclusion and belonging, we won’t stop until we’ve implemented the NHS People Plan into every aspect of the organisation.