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Hospital cafe to expand

The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) has announced its café in the hospital’s outpatients area has been selected to become one of the charity’s flagship Tea & Co outlets.

The café, which has been running for many years, attracts a huge number of visitors, patients and staff every day who enjoy a range food and drink options as well as a warm welcome from RVS volunteers.

The development of the café will take place over the next couple of months. Once open, Royal Voluntary Service’s Tea & Co will offer an enhanced menu for NHS staff, visitors and patients, including fresh fruit and healthy snacks and lunch options, as well as increased seating and a more modern, contemporary environment.

At the heart of the café are its 50 volunteers. As well as preparing and serving food and drinks, the trained, caring volunteers, – many of which are over 70 – signpost services available to older people in the local community and bring comfort, company and compassion to customers.

The development will mark the 6th Tea & Co to be opened by RVS, with the first opening at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in 2016. The introduction of Tea & Co is part of Royal Voluntary Service’s Healthier Choices Retail Transformation programme which saw the launch of the first health-focused dietary specific hospital shop, Royal Voluntary Service Revitalise in October 2016 and Shop & Co (a contemporary hospital shop offering convenient healthy food, drink and grocery choices) in 2017.

Davina Northern, 73, who volunteers in the Royal Voluntary Service café said: “I’ve been a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer for 23 years and love working in the café at Poole Hospital. 

“It’s extremely busy so time flies by and we get lovely feedback from customers.  I’m looking forward to the new look Tea & Co which I think will create a really modern café environment.”   

Mark Mould, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said: “We are delighted with the plans to develop the new café and look forward to it opening later in the summer.

“It will provide a much valued service to our staff and patients and I would like to thank the charity and its volunteers for the enormous contribution they make here at the trust."

Olly Young, retail area manager for Royal Voluntary Service in the South, said: “We’re delighted to be developing a Tea & Co at Poole Hospital.

“We have had a long standing relationship with the hospital and the Trust and look forward to building on this in the years to come.

“The new-look café will play an important part in providing a wide range of eat-in and on-the-go healthier food and drink choices to hospital staff and visitors. 

“Customers can also feel good about their purchase, knowing we are ploughing the funds back into our work helping people as they age stay happier and healthier and supporting the NHS. ” 

The Royal Voluntary Service has 25,000 dedicated volunteers, who help thousands of people each month in hospital, at home and in the community.  From running dance clubs and lunch clubs to providing companionship on ward in a busy NHS hospital or supporting an older person just home from hospital, these volunteers do simple things which make a big difference.

For more information about the café or to volunteer, please contact Coralie Jenkins, service manager at Coralie.Jenkins@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or on 07500107491.

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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