17th August 2023

Sheffield Hospitals Charity (SHC) has announced funding of more than £240,000 in its latest round of grantmaking to support seven projects based in hospitals around the city. The funding has been awarded as part of the charity’s rolling grant funding programme, which focuses on supporting projects that make a huge difference to patients yet aren’t covered by the hospitals’ typical NHS budgets. 

Among the seven grants made, SHC has committed funds to provide artwork for dementia patients in the Brearley Wards at the Northern General for whom comforting surroundings can have a hugely positive impact on their health. Money has also been set aside for research into better drugs for Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD). A third grant has been allocated to provide therapies such as Shiatsu or Reiki to cancer patients at Weston Park Cancer Centre, Royal Hallamshire and the Northern General to ease their symptoms and potentially improve their prognoses.

Beth Crackles, Chief Executive of Sheffield Hospitals Charity said of the grants made:

“The panel were hugely inspired by the grant applications they received, and we are delighted to be able to support these seven, vital projects. The range of work we’re supporting – from art on a dementia ward to treatment for kidney disease that can directly extend patients’ lives – is the kind of medicine that will pay dividends for patients across Sheffield for years to come.”

Nigel Coulson, one of the Northern General’s Geriatric Ward Matrons, said of the Brearley Wards artwork funding:

“The new artwork will help our patients feel more at ease in the hospital environment, and hopefully help to calm them as they receive treatment and are provided with care. Around 60-70% of patients on the five Brearley wards have some form of dementia or delirium, and symptoms are often worse when they have a virus or infection. The artwork funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity will be a huge comfort to patients and their families during what can be really frightening and confusing times in their lives.”

Professor Albert Ong, who leads the Kidney Genetics Group at the University of Sheffield said:

“If we develop better treatments, we will be able to keep people off dialysis or the transplant list for longer, whilst affording them a better quality of life.

“The best outcome for our lab work, of course, is to make a big leap in developing a drug that can ultimately cure ADPKD. Yet we know that the development of new treatment is a long, unpredictable and expensive journey. We don’t know where the breakthrough will come from so as scientists, we need to try many different approaches at once until we find a solution. That’s why the funding for research like this is so important – not only for our current ADPKD patients, but also for the 50% of children at risk of inheriting their parents’ condition in future generations.”

These grants, and others awarded at the latest panel meeting, have been made as part of Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s rolling grants programme. Funds raised by patients, corporate sponsors and through fundraising events each year are redistributed to projects that support patients, NHS staff, equipment, pioneering research, and health and social care services across Sheffield Hospitals. Whilst many patients are unaware that the charity exists, its effects touch the lives of approximately thousands of Sheffield residents every year.