RBC road markings

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Pictured are: From Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, front left Dom Hardy (Chief Operating Officer), 2nd left Steve McManus (Chief Executive) and front right (Nicky Lloyd, Chief Finance Officer) with Reading Borough Council Leader Jason Brock (2nd right), Cllr Tony Jones (3rd left) with members of the Council Highways team and contractors Bellstan.

A public and lasting thank you for the amazing work NHS staff and carers are doing to look after Reading’s residents during the coronavirus pandemic has appeared in the town.

The road markings, providing a message of gratitude from Reading Borough Council on behalf of residents, were installed on Wednesday 29th April directly outside Royal Berkshire Hospital on London Road.

The message reads “THANK YOU NHS AND CARERS” with the NHS logo in the middle of a colourful rainbow heart.

RBC teamed up with its road markings contractor Bellstan to provide the thank you message between the entrances to Eldon Road and Prince’s Street.

Bellstan generously provided the messaging free to show their gratitude to the NHS as well, along with their materials supplier Ennis-Flint and Uni-Play who created the artwork and final print.

The thank you extends to all key workers and frontline staff who have been instrumental in keeping essential services going for Reading’s residents since the pandemic began, including those redeployed to unfamiliar roles to ensure continuity.

Last week the council urged people to do their bit to make a difference by joining its care agencies and help make sure vulnerable adults and older people in Reading are supported over the coming months.

Reading Borough Council Leader Jason Brock said: “Our NHS staff and carers have shown exceptional dedication, coping so well with the additional pressures and dangers that coronavirus has brought.

We want to bring a smile to the faces of hospital staff when they come to work and remind them how much the council and all Reading’s residents truly appreciate what they are doing.

My sincere thanks go to all frontline staff keeping essential services going, including the council’s dedicated team and those working or volunteering with all our partners.

Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “It’s great that so many of our hard working staff now see this lovely message of gratitude as they start and finish their shifts at the hospital.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the many ways the local community has rallied round to support us all during the covornavirus outbreak, from donations of food and laundry bags, to the weekly clapping for carers.

“This eye-catching message on our doorstep is a reminder to everyone of the fantastic work being done, not just inside the hospital but by carers and key workers across our community.”

Both Reading Borough Council and the Royal Berkshire Hospital reiterated that residents can help the fight against Covid-19 through social distancing and should stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Share how you & your community has been thanking the NHS and key workers in the comments below! 

Health research study

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People in the Thames Valley can now find more than 100 research studies taking place in the NHS, public health and social care using a new interactive online map.

The map, at thamesvalleyresearch.nihr.ac.uk, features pins that show where studies are taking place at locations including hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.

Users click on the pin to browse studies at that location. They can also search all studies in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire by medical speciality, location, keyword (for example diabetes), postcode and study name.

After finding a study they are interested in, users visit a webpage for more information including a summary of the study, health inclusion and exclusion criteria and contact details.

The website lists studies supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands.

Prof Belinda Lennox, Clinical Director for the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, said: “Health research is vital for developing new treatments in the NHS and improving the quality of the care that we provide.

“We rely on the public to take part in this research, which can range from filling out a questionnaire or giving a blood sample to trialling a new medication or treatment.

“This map provides people with the opportunity to actively seek out studies that they could take part in.”

Participating in health research helps develop new treatments, improves the NHS, public health and social care services and save lives.

Studies are offered to NHS patients that are relevant to their condition. Healthy people can also take part so results can be compared to those with a condition.

We rely on the public to take part in this research

Great Daffodil Appeal

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Do you bit for the Great Daffodil Appeal and help Marie Curie this March.

If spring makes you think of daffodils then how about joining the Great Daffodil Appeal collection in March in aid of Marie Curie. 

The charity which offers care and support through terminal illness is asking people to help out either through fundraising or joining in the collection effort. 

One of the UK’s most recognisable charity appeals, through the bright yellow daffodil pins, they are asking if you can spare just two hours of your time to help make a big difference. 

Marie Curie can offer a wide range of help and advice on how to go about collecting and making the most of the experience. 

If you prefer to help out in other ways, then how about challenging yourself to walk 10,000 steps every day in March and get your family and friends to donate as you ‘Step into Spring’. It’s a great way to feel good, improve your own fitness and do something amazing for those with a terminal illness. 

Did you know if you walk 10,000 steps every day during March you’ll have covered 150 miles that’s the equivalent of walking from the Brighton Pavilion to the Bull Ring in Birmingham? 

The origins of the charity began in 1948 when the Marie Curie International Memorial was established, it went on to become the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation which then launched an appeal, bringing in £4,000 and Marie Curie’s daughter gave permission for her mother’s name to be used. 

The charity started its work in earnest in the 1950s with residential homes being opened, help given to patients at home and medical research. 

It has continued to grow over the following decades and it now provides care and support for more than 50,000 terminally ill people and their families through its 2,100 nurses. 

  Click here to find out more about how you could help and join In the Great Daffodil Appeal.

Ronald McDonald House

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Martin Keown kicks off building with twins, Finley and Billy Kearns, and mum and dad, Laura and Robert.

Former Arsenal and England star Martin Keown has helped kick off building at the new accommodation for families with seriously ill children in Oxford. 

The footballer from Oxford broke ground at the new 62-bedroom Ronald McDonald House on the John Radcliffe Hospital site on Wednesday, 6th February. The house will provide families with free accommodation while their children are being treated to save them having to go to and from the hospital. 

Among those at the ceremony were two-year-old twins Finley and Billy Kearns, whose parents Laura and Robert spent more than four months at the current house after the twins were born prematurely. Billy needed surgery to reverse a stoma. The £14million facility is due to open in summer next year with 62 en-suite bedrooms and communal living facilities, including kitchens, lounges, playrooms, laundry rooms and a garden. 

The current 17-bedroom house has experienced a rise in demand over the last 15 years and while last year it accommodated 600 families, it had to turn a further 300 away. 

Ronald McDonald House Charities has raised £9million, Oxford Hospitals Charity has added £2.5million, Children with Cancer UK is donating more than £280,000 and McDonald’s employees and customers has raised £1.5million. A further £1million is still needed to fit and furnish the house and the charity is looking to the local community to help them in this fundraising effort, as well as for volunteers to help get the house ready and provide support.

CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Jon Howard said last week they were delighted to begin the expansion work. Thanking all those who have helped, he added: “We know from research it is beneficial for the health of family members and their child to keep them close together, and that comfortable and supportive accommodation nearby is a key enabler in this process.” 

Head of the paediatric psychology department Dr Karen Steinhardt with the range of services available at Oxford, families are increasingly travelling from further afield for treatment. She said: “This new accommodation at Ronald McDonald House Oxford will allow more families to be close by in the hospital grounds. 

“It will allow them to get more rest and sleep, eat properly and lead as normal a life as possible ad importantly, feel able to make the best decisions about their child’s health.” 

The new building will be open to families with children being cared for at Oxford Children’s Hospital as well as Children’s Critical Care and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the John Radcliffe site. 

Picture credit: Richard Cave

  Read more about the Ronald McDonald House Charity