Those from the Banbury area wanting give Christmas toys, gift bags and festive fun to patients in Oxfordshire's hospitals are being asked to give a virtual gift this year

Residents are invited to help spread festive cheer to the Horton, the Oxford Children's Hospital, the JR, Churchill and Nuffield centre with virtual gifts this Christmas.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 1:34 pm
Play Specialist Carrie Hayle knows how much a Christmas gift means to patients who have to spend December 25 in hospital

Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Hospitals Charity are calling on the local community to 'give a virtual gift' this Christmas.

In previous years community groups and individuals across Oxfordshire have generously donated toys and gifts at Christmas for patients of all ages across the hospital sites.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions still in place across our hospitals, festive toy and gift drops cannot take place again this year so Oxford Hospitals Charity, working alongside the Trust, has created a special way for the public to continue to help spread festive joy across our hospitals.

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Leon Belzung unwaps his Christmas gift. This year because of Covid restrictions the hospital trust would welcome 'virtual' gifts chosen online

The local community can donate online which then funds toys, gift bags and festive fun for patients in hospital over Christmas.

Gemma Cole, Community Fundraising Manager at Oxford Hospitals Charity, said: “Our local hospitals are still under great pressure and our NHS staff and patients continue to be at the forefront of people’s minds as we approach the festive season.

“In the run up to Christmas, we know many kind people in our local community would normally be planning to donate wonderful gifts for children and for older patients in hospital, and visits like this are normally the highlight of our year.

“Sadly, with restrictions across our hospitals still in place, gift drops to the Oxford Children’s Hospital and other hospital areas will not be possible, but we know our generous supporters will understand that the safety of our patients and staff has to come first.

“Instead, we are continuing to offer the local community a way to give a gift virtually this Christmas and spread some festive joy.

“By going online to you can choose to fund a gift for a child or an older patient as well as helping contribute to one of the many transformative projects the charity is working on to make our hospitals more comfortable and welcoming for patients.

“All toys and gifts purchased as part of the Give a Gift initiative have been carefully chosen by our team of Play Specialists and staff working with older patients, and so you are safe in the knowledge that your donation will be making a real difference to patients that need them most.”

Gemma added: “We really hope the local community will help get behind this appeal and help us spread joy across our hospitals in 2021 and beyond.”

Jo Pinney, Senior Play Specialist at the Oxford Children’s Hospital, added: “All of us at the Oxford Children’s Hospital are so grateful for the continued support of the community. Restrictions across our hospitals have meant that we’ve had to rethink how we can spread Christmas joy, while keeping our patients and staff safe amidst the ongoing pandemic.

“By donating towards a gift online, you’ll be helping make a difference to the patients treated across our hospitals this Christmas and throughout next year.

“We want to extend our thanks to all our supporters and look forward to seeing some familiar faces when restrictions are lifted.”

For more information about the charity appeal and how your gift will make a difference visit the Oxford Hospitals Charity website.