Juliet Morris and Richard Hallett, trustees of the Friends of Crowborough Hospital committee, gave a well-received presentation to a packed meeting of the Crowborough Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday 19 November 2019. They talked about the wide variety of services offered by Crowborough Hospital, the effectiveness of the Friends’ fundraising activities, and the new opportunities for local businesses to support the Friends and the work it does to support the hospital.
The Hospital plays an invaluable role in the community through the provision of a comprehensive range of high quality health services to residents of Crowborough and district. The popular services include the Birthing Centre, Minor Injuries Unit, X-Ray facilities, community nursing and Day Centre. It provides a ‘step down’ function for acute hospitals, helping reduce bed-blocking, and takes the pressure off overstretched A & E units.
The Social Day Centre on the site is run by the Friends, the only non-NHS provider there. The Centre helps to reduce social isolation for potentially vulnerable adults, a particular problem in rural Sussex.
The Friends is a volunteer-led registered charity that has actively promoted ‘excellent care at the heart of the local community’ by supporting the work of Crowborough Hospital for over 65 years. It has raised significant funds for the Hospital to purchase medical equipment, support rebuilding projects and provide many other benefits.
By the mid-1990s the hospital was struggling to meet modern hospital safety standards and was facing closure. The Friends successfully raised £1.5m to save the Hospital and used this challenge to move to a strategic approach to the deployment of their funds to ensure they are spent effectively and to underpin the long-term viability of the Hospital.
Richard Hallett said, “We rely on the generosity of residents and the support of the local community to keep our much-loved and important hospital going. In recent years, this has helped us fund the new Midwife-led Birth Centre, the Minor Injuries Unit and state-of-the art X-Ray equipment. But this all costs money and we need to diversify our fundraising activities beyond reliance on individual donations and legacies.”
Richard added, “We would like to invite local businesses to consider either sponsoring the August Bank Holiday Fete – one of the largest social events in Crowborough – or taking out corporate membership of the Friends. Both options would, of course, give businesses the opportunity to be associated with a popular local charity.”
The Friends work in close collaboration with the Clinical Commissioning Group for this area and the various NHS Trusts that provide health and social services within Crowborough Hospital:
- Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust run the Birth Centre & Community Midwifery.
- Sussex Community Foundation NHS Trust operate the in-patient ward and Minor Injuries Unit.
- East Sussex Healthcare Trust and East Sussex County Council between them fund the Joint Rehab team that helps to promote independence among the disabled and elderly.
- Sussex Partnership NHS Trust provide Mental Health Care support (Grove House on the Hospital Site) & provide a Perinatal Mental Health service linked to maternity care.
The Friends have earned considerable respect as an effective partner in the local health economy. They act as an important source of patient feedback and as a well-informed community consultee.
For more information about how local businesses can support the Hospital, please contact either Juliet Morris, Membership Secretary, at or Richard Hallett MBE, Vice President, at .
Photographs are by Roger Bloxham