Charitable Grant Programme – ‘Dragons Den’

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, South East, Acute

The problem

The charity team needed to find a way to identify projects across the hospital for which we can use charitable funding which is not attached to any particular department or service. It is important to spend charitable funds to ensure we meet our charitable objectives, but it is also vital that we show supporters how we utilise their kind donations in order to enhance patient care or improve staff welfare.

The challenge 

How we might identify areas for charitable spend so that we can then implement and share great stories of how kind patient donations are making a difference in our Trust.

How we might inspire staff across our Trust to some to us with ideas so that we can focus expenditure on projects which improve the care we give to our patients.

The outputs

The tangible products that came from our innovation were the eight incredible projects we are now funding with a relatively small amount of expenditure as follows;

  1. Enhancing our surgical pathway for those with learning disabilities. The funding will help towards equipment for a room designated for these patients when in our care. Equipment includes a TV, cupboards, art for the walls, sensory equipment and sleeper chairs for relatives and carers.
  2. Lumen Eye digital rectoscope. This piece of equipment will help to bring formal endoscopic level imaging to the bedside, outpatient department and theatre. Patients can have a one-stop consultation with appropriate investigation in our outpatient department, relieving pressure on endoscopy. An incredible new piece of equipment for the Trust, half funded by our cancer services fund. This will have a financial benefit to the Trust.
  3. Dementia friendly inpatient X-ray room. The funding will help add ceiling skylights above the X-ray, add colour to the radiographer screen and skirting board. We are also planning to add a dementia friendly clock and wall murals to make the whole room brighter.
  4. ‘Butterfly’ end of life resources. These resources will help dying patients and families to stay connected, make memories and leave a legacy to each other. The resources include writing paper and pads for families to write memories as well as keepsake bags to ensure property is returned with consideration and courtesy
  5. Items for our infant feeding room. A midwife requested funding for items to have a welcoming infant feeding room and waiting area for patients, staff and students to feel inspired and supported around breastfeeding. The funding will help towards an enhanced waiting area seating for postnatal mothers, a new feeding chair and TV for the feeding room
  6. VR headset. Our paediatric emergency department play specialist requested funding for a one-year trial of an enhanced VR headset for the unit. The VR headset can help ease anxiety during procedures. It also comes with a tablet which can control the headset and allows the parents and staff to see what the children can see.
  7. Walking jackets. One of our moving and handling trainers, wants to purchase walking jackets for use with hoists. We don’t have any jackets like these at the Trust, but they can really help to improve the rehabilitation of patients, in some cases reducing patients’ length of stays.
  8. Patient bus stops. The funding will help to purchase seating, signs and timetables for up to six wards. The bus stops are a familiar sight for patients who may become disorientated, and they can also provide an area to wait for discharge, or for other appointments in the hospital.


 The outcomes

There were many other outcomes which happened as a result of the project as follows:

  1. Identification of projects which can be funded by charitable spend from within other designated charity funds (some of which have large balances to spend)
  2. Identification of future fundraising asks
  3. Identification of areas which the charity cannot fund but can be flagged to the Trust for potential future action

In addition to the value the chosen projects will add to patient care the process was brilliant for inviting ideas from our staff and creating a buzz around innovation at the Trust.

A snippet of the feedback is featured below:


“I just wanted to say that after reading this how wonderful it is that these useful and practical schemes can be supported – I am sure there were many others presented that you were unable to support, but I really like this idea – where the charity is working with the workforce to support small but important improvements to the patient and staff experience. Hopefully this can be a regular 6 month or yearly event – brilliant” – Staff Member


“I really love this approach that our Charity has taken to inviting ideas from our teams to invest in improving patient and staff experience. Thank you. And thank you for your ideas and engagement” Penny Emerit, Chief Executive, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust


“It’s a fabulous inspirational initiative that is indicative of the talent both in the Charity but also in the PH NHS Trust. It will be copied; deserves more publicity and certainly motivates me! Thank you.” – PHU Patient

The Innovation

Read the full innovation on the award recognition scheme

All the documents and resources relating to this innovation can be found in the downloads section at the bottom of the page.

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What the peer-reviewers said

“What a wonderful innovation! this is spending the donations kindly given in a way that staff know patients will get the most benefit from.”

“ The team has executed an idea which addresses a specific challenge and delivers better value for the organisation. ”

“A really innovative proposal that engages colleagues across the trust for the benefit of patients and utilising charitable funds, good news story all round!”

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Here are all of the documents and resources related to this innovation

Innovation H5 – Dragons Den report