The well-loved League of Friends shop at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn (QEH) has reopened its doors after a year of closure.
The organisation’s team of dedicated volunteers have set up shop again, having closed for their safety during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with government guidance. President of the League of Friends Valeria, Viscountess Coke was present to formally reopen the store.
The shop, which has been greatly missed by patients, staff, and visitors during the pandemic, will be open seven days a week. Items including sandwiches, crisps, drinks and magazines will be available and customers can now pay by card as well as cash after the team unveiled new card readers.
Despite the loss of shop income, the League of Friends has continued to support patients and staff at QEH generously throughout the pandemic. The organisation contributed £500,000 to QEH’s new Radiology Information System and purchased a number of items of hospital equipment for the Trust.
During the shop’s closure, volunteers also ensured no food went to waste, and perishable goods were distributed to staff and patients across the Trust.
The League of Friends comprises a team of willing volunteers, who staff the hospital shop and carry out fundraising activities. Since it was established in 1953, the team has raised millions of pounds which has been spent on essential equipment for the hospital.
Rosalind Rose, League of Friends Shop Manager, said: “I and all our volunteers are pleased about the reopening and are looking forward to meeting staff and visitors again, we know they have all missed us.”
Caroline Shaw CBE, Chief Executive at QEH, said: “Despite the challenges of the last year, and the shop closure, the League of Friends has continued to be there for QEH. We are enormously thankful to them for their longstanding support, and all they have done to support and comfort our patients and staff. The funds raised by the League of Friends will really make a difference to our local community. We have missed them enormously, and their return of the shop will be a boost for us all.”
The shop will open 8.00am to 4.00pm Monday-Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday, and 10.00am to 4.00pm on Sunday, with hopes to expand these hours in the coming weeks. Like all areas of the Trust, all visitors, patients and staff will be required to observe social distancing, wear a face covering and follow additional hygiene measures.