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During 2006, WHR continued to provide daily visits to patients at the RHCH and to broadcast live programmes every day, including all public holidays.
Following a wholesale review of WHR's service, and after extensive discussions with our volunteers, the programming and visiting schedules were significantly altered towards the end of 2005. The amount of live programming was reduced, by an average of an hour a night, to allow our volunteers to concentrate on producing quality programmes with increased patient involvement. Attention was focussed on "The Sound Remedy", our nightly programme made up of music requests collected from patients by our team of volunteers. This programme was increased in length by 30 minutes to two hours, with the first hour broadcast live from one of the wards six nights a week. Additional interactive features, such as the nightly "brain tickler" competition were also included in the programme.
The frequency of ward visits was also increased to three visits per week for most wards. We consider our visits to patients on the wards to be just as important as our programmes. Even if a patient doesn't want a piece of music played, our volunteers are happy to have a chat.
Helen Down chatting to a prize-winningpatient on Clifton Ward
The reaction of the patients to the changes to our service has been very positive.
The number of music requests per evening has significantly increased, with over 20 requests often being made. In addition to requests collected by our volunteers, patients now often telephone requests to the studio, either leaving messages on our answerphone, or talking directly to the on-air presenter during the programme.
Both patients and the nursing staff appear to enjoy our volunteers presenting programmes live from the wards. This enables us to chat to patients live on air, getting them to explain why they have requested a particular piece of music or to reminisce about happier times, for example.
The "brain tickler" has proved to be one of the most popular features in the programme, even though we have been unable to offer a prize for much of the year. We were fortunate to have donated a number of cheap promotional clocks which our Programme Controller re-branded with the WHR logo. When these were offered as prizes, the quiz became even more popular, with patients working together over several nights to try and get every patient in their ward bay a clock before they went home.
Patient Elsie Wilmot with HealthcareAssistant Rachel Sheppard
We have proved so popular with some patients that they will tune in each night, telephoning music requests down to the presenter. When the time comes for them to leave hospital, they will leave a message on our answerphone to let us know that they are going home and telling us how much they have enjoyed our service and that they will miss us. It would seem that we truly have become their "friend at the bedside" once more.
Evening radio listening figures in April 2006The blue line at the top represents WHR
Just how much the service we provide means to some patients was brought home when we heard that the family of Elsie Wilmot had decided that half of the in memoriam donations at Elsie's funeral would be donated to WHR. Elsie had been in hospital for an extended period and soon became a regular listener and requester of music.
As well as the positive qualitative feedback mentioned above, the listening figures we were able to obtain from Patientline provided quantitative proof that "The Sound Remedy" was the most-popular radio programme in the hospital by a significant margin. Previous figures had put WHR's listening figures at the same (low) level as the other 5 radio stations available on the Patientline system.
Unfortunately, a number of our volunteers decided that they did not wish to participate in our new-style service. Over the first quarter of 2006, the number of volunteers reduced to such a point that a further reduction in live programming hours was necessary; today only "The Sound Remedy" is broadcast live, and from the wards on only 3 or 4 days a week.
The decision to reduce the live programming hours further was taken only after much soul-searching, but attempting to recruit, induct and train new volunteers whilst maintaining the live broadcasting and visiting was proving too much for the small number of active volunteers who had already agreed to put in more hours to make up for the shortage of volunteers.
In the latter part of the year, the fruits of this difficult decision were being seen. A number of new volunteers had been recruited and were in the process of being inducted and trained. A number of existing volunteers were also being trained to take on extra responsibilities.
These extra volunteers are now beginning to take some of the pressure of front-line service provision off our Station Manager and Programme Controller, allowing more time to be spent recruiting, inducting and training further volunteers.
Due to the increased number of volunteers, a much-expanded programme schedule was broadcast over the Christmas and New Year period, including request programmes on every day.
Staff Nurse Jan George is presented with her'Nursing Heroes' certificate by Gertie Stevenson,one of the patients in her care
In conjunction with the hospital management, to mark International Nurses' Day on 12th May, we staged a "Nursing Heroes" event. We asked patients to nominate a member of their care team (including doctors and care assistants as well as nurses) who they felt deserved particular recognition.
The dozens of entries were judged by representatives of the WHR Trustees and the NHS Trust Board. Three lucky recipients, a healthcare assistant, a staff nurse and a ward sister were presented with prizes donated by Elements Beauty Salon, Mystique Hair Design and The Plough Inn, Sparsholt.
Tony Knight interviews the Mayorof Winchester, Councillor Sue Nelmes
One of our aims has always been to keep patients updated on events and activities taking place in the local community, so that they don't feel isolated from the world outside the hospital.
During the year, we have interviewed a number of local guests, including Councillor Sue Nelmes, the Mayor of Winchester. Over the Christmas period, we recorded and broadcast two carol concerts – from a local school and a local church – and the North Winchester Community Church pantomime.
Peter Warrener and AnnaO'Brien entertaining theshoppers at Sainsbury's
Due to the reduced numbers of volunteers, the number of fundraising events held in 2006 was reduced compared to previous years. Despite this, the total amount of income from fundraising activities was the same as last year.
Ron Cruse presenting fromthe shade of the WHRgazebo at our Road Showfrom Sainsbury's
Our annual Supper Quiz in March suffered badly from a lack of support by our volunteers, who we have, in the past, relied on to sell a large proportion of the tickets. The net income, at only £355, was less than half of that raised in 2005.
Once again this year, we staged our annual "road show" from Sainsbury's supermarket in Badger Farm. As has become traditional, we broadcast 6 hours of live programmes from our stage in the car park whilst collecting donations from shoppers. This year, the net income from the day was £578; virtually the same as in 2005. Many thanks to the management at Sainsbury's for their hospitality.
Steven Wills continued to generate funds for WHR by selling CDs throughout the year. By the end of the year, over £1,800 had been raised. The last CD was produced in late 2005 and all the four CDs that remained in stock sold well throughout the year. Shortly after the end of the year "Department TV" sold out. Further CD releases are planned in 2007.
Steven Wills (centre) at the Barclay'sChairman's Awards, with former England goalkeeper, Pat Jennings, and AlanHands, Barclay's CommunityRelations Manager
WHR would like to record its thanks to Steven's employer, Barclays Bank, who have made donations totalling £551 to WHR as part of its "matched-funding" scheme to encourage their employees to raise money for charities. Steven's efforts were also recognised within Barclays at a national level when we was highly commended at the company's Chairman's Awards held at Tottenham FC's White Hart Lane ground.
Barrie Duesbury (right) with hisinstructor after the jump
Thanks must also go to our volunteer, Barrie Duesbury, who threw himself out of an aeroplane at an altitude of 10,000ft, fortunately wearing a parachute! In so doing, he raised over £260 for WHR, with more to come in 2007 when we reclaim Gift Aid from HM Revenue and Customs at the end of the tax year.
Police Sergeant John Watson explains the basicsof studio security at the HBA conference in Blackpool
During the year, a number of our volunteers attended conferences run by the national Hospital Broadcasting Association in Blackpool and Norwich. WHR has also been represented at all the southern regional meetings of the HBA, hosted at a number of hospital radio stations across southern England.
All these events provide an invaluable opportunity to network with other hospital broadcasting volunteers, enabling us to share ideas. In addition, at the conferences, our volunteers were able to attend a number of training and workshop sessions covering a variety of topics, including charity administration, radio presentation techniques, studio security precautions and health & safety.
In the last few weeks of the year, our Engineering Team purchased new computer hardware and software, costing a total of £4,750, to replace the majority of our IT systems, from our music playout system through audio editing facilities and music library database to our Office PC. The Microsoft software was purchased via the Charity Technology Exchange programme administered by the Charity Technology Trust saving us many hundreds of pounds thanks to the generosity of Microsoft.
Our existing IT network was put together five years ago when we purchased our music playout system, although much of the hardware is much older than that, and incapable of running up-to-date software.
The Engineering Team are now working to install and configure the software on the new computers. They hope to have the new systems commissioned within the next three months.
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