EAST Lancashire Hospitals charity is asking people to donate virtually so people in hospital on Christmas day will get a present.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s official charity, ELHT&Me, have launched the fundraiser which normally asks people to donate gifts to the hospital, however due to infection control guidelines, this is not possible this year.

Denise Gee, Fundraising Manager for ELHT&Me said: "2020 has been an extremely challenging year and we really appreciate the support we’ve received from the local community.

"This Christmas we need to prioritise the safety of our patients, staff, and our supporters in the community too. That’s why we’ve made our Christmas campaign virtual, and there are a number of ways to give."

The charity has launched three virtual campaigns - The Big NHS Christmas List, The Big NHS Christmas Give and #MerryChristmasNHS.

The Big NHS Christmas List will help provide a gift for each patient in local hospitals to open on Christmas morning.

The charity has created an Amazon Wishlist, filled with ideal gifts for patients who find themselves in hospital on Christmas Day.

The Big NHS Christmas Give will allow the public to make a financial donation if they prefer on the charities JustGiving page specifically created for purchasing gifts for patients.

#MerryXmasNHS will allow people to donate to say thank you to our amazing staff after such a challenging year. Donations for #MerryXmasNHS can be made on its JustGiving page.

The charity is also giving supporters the opportunity to win big this Christmas with the ELHT&Me Christmas Raffle with a £1,000 prize up for grabs, with tickets priced at only £2 each. All proceeds from the raffle will support initiatives to enhance patient environment and experience across the Trust.

“We can’t thank the local community enough for their generosity through such a challenging year,” Denise added. “Continuing that support over Christmas and New Year will be essential for keeping up morale and making our staff and patients feel special – and we are doing everything we can to do that safely.”

All virtual donations will be managed by the Fundraising Team, who will distribute the gifts to our patients safely and in line with COVID guidance. The Trust manages Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Teaching Hospitals, as well as Accrington, Clitheroe and Pendle Community Hospitals, and donations will be shared across Trust sites, throughout the festive period.

Donating funds gives the charity the flexibility to purchase gifts from a range of places, for different patients and staff groups, and deliver them quickly, so it’s the perfect way to support your local hospital charity without having to go shopping yourself.

For more information on the Trust’s Christmas campaign, visit www.elht.nhs.uk/christmas2020.