Weston Park Hospital Sheffield: Queen Consort Camilla contacted over fears for future of café
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The Royal Voluntary Service is considering closing the site in Weston Park Hospital, saying its visitor numbers and profits have fallen since the coronavirus pandemic. The hospital, near Broomhill, is the main regional cancer hospital for South Yorkshire, serving patients from Sheffield and beyond.
Volunteers are concerned over the move, and have started a campaign to save the facility, with a petition up and running, and posters and leaflets placed inside the building.
It is run by a paid manager as well as a team of volunteers and a couple of other staff who are understood to only work one day a week.
One volunteer said: “Most of these volunteers are retirees. Some have done it for years; one lady I work with has served the hospital voluntarily for 42 years.
“We were all saddened to receive this threat of closure in an email last week. We feel the service is putting profits before its intention of service. We will fight tooth and nail to keep the café open. We provide more than just a selling point for drinks. Many people come from miles around to receive treatment. We provide a friendly face and words of support to these patients and the staff who treat them.
“Those customers we have informed of the possible closure are aghast; they really appreciate our presence. I can't sit back and let this happen without a fight.”
Campaigners have written to Camilla, the Queen Consort who is president of the charity.
Chris Gray, head of retail operations for Royal Voluntary Service said: “We have been pleased to see trading return to many of our cafés and shops which are predominately based in hospitals, following the pandemic. There are however some sites where there is reduced footfall and customer spend, including our Weston Park Hospital café. We’re therefore in the process of reviewing those services and hope to explore our rental costs with Trusts and Health Boards. No decisions have been made yet and we are keeping our staff and volunteers updated.”
Log onto https://www.change.org/p/support-us-in-keeping-the-rvs-cafe-in-weston-park-hospital-open to sign the online version of the petition.