Our Patient Advice & Liaison Service team (PALS) work closely with patients and their families / carers, as well as with services across the Trust, to help improve patient experiences while they are under the care of Oxford Health. They also organise theme events on the community and mental health wards and receive highly positive feedback from patients. In February, the PALS team decided to take their valuable trustwide support for patients and staff a step further – literally!

The PALS team recognise the importance of exercise and movement and the positive impact that fitness can have on the wellbeing of every one of us. To help them get off to a healthy start for 2023, the team decided to combine this focus on fitness with a desire to do even more to support Oxford Health patients and services, through fundraising for projects and activities across the Trust.

And so, PALS FIT 4 FEB was born – combining FitnessFebruary…and Fundraising on behalf of Oxford Health Charity!

Signing up to this challenge meant committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, for each of the 28 days in February, which, as Charlotte Arnold commented, wasn’t always easy:

“For some of us this has been a real challenge as the most exercise we get is reaching for a cuppa and a biscuit!”

Despite this, however, the PALS team approached their challenge with great enthusiasm, taking part in a wide variety of group and individual fitness activities such as:

  • attending aerobics, body combat, gym, yoga and Zumba classes.
  • following healthy pursuits including cycling, rowing, swimming and walking.
  • completing sets of press-ups and sit-ups.

and even dancing round the kitchen to the beat of a ‘silent disco’!

These fabulous ladies showed amazing commitment to their February fitness fundraiser, during which team members even found they were pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones – signing up to activities such as the NHS Couch to 5k as well as ladies’ weightlifting classes and even finding new ways to exercise in the face of injury! Georgia Eccles explains:

“This has definitely been a challenging month for me as I broke my foot recently playing badminton! I usually exercise daily but have overcome this by finding new ways to exercise, like focusing on upper body weight exercises and taking on a daily challenge to do 20+ press-ups on my knees (I am now up to 30!)…”

The PALS team chose to raise funds for Oxford Health Charity’s ‘Where the Need is Greatest’ appeal, so that all donations could be put towards projects and activities trustwide – helping to generate a positive impact on patient experiences as well as on teams and services across Oxford Health. Georgia Eccles continues:

“Raising funds for the charity is important because, even a simple thing like being stuck at home with a broken foot can impact your mental health. Being able to get help for each and every one of us is an important goal that we can all work towards.”

This inspirational team set themselves a fundraising target of £250 and we are thrilled to announce that they smashed this, having raised a total of £400 through their February fitness challenge! 

And they didn’t stop there…

As a follow-up to their exercise challenge, Charlotte and Siobhan from the PALS team hosted a tombola fundraiser on Tuesday 14th March at Cowley’s Templars Square Shopping Centre, Oxford. The impressive selection of around 80 prizes (collated largely from Oxford Health staff donations) ranged from scented candles, jewellery, toiletries, skincare and makeup products to cuddly toys, picture frames, jigsaw puzzles and notepads!

And the result? Another very successful fundraising event! All prizes were claimed, and the team raised £155.45 from ticket sales which, when added to their PALS Fit 4 Feb challenge funds, gives an amazing final total of £555.45 for our ‘Where the Need is Greatest’ appeal.

Oxford Health Charity would like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to:

Charlotte Arnold (Patient Experience & Complaints Coordinator); Jackie Barrie (Complaints & PALS Officer); Lisa Brandon (PALS Officer); Angela De Freitas (PALS Officer); Georgia Eccles (PALS Officer); Grace Hennessy (Complaints Service Lead); Laura Lewis-Robinson (PALS Service Lead); Siobhan McGlynn (Complaints & PALS Administrator); Claire Price (Complaints & PALS Manager)

We are so grateful to them all for their time and effort in support of Oxford Health and the work we, as a small NHS charity, do to support the Trust’s patients, families, staff and services. 

Following the success of their tombola event, the team are now considering planning their next one for the run-up to Christmas so look out for more details from the PALS team soon! 

Feeling inspired for yourself or with your family, friends or work team? Then don’t delay! Contact us today at [email protected] to see how we can help support you in your own fundraising challenge.