Who we are - a community, not just a charity

The Friends of UCLH have been supporting UCLH for many years, before that supporting the individual hospitals that came together to form UCLH. We’re a registered charity with objects which our strapline summarises as funding extras for patients and staff. ‘Extras’ are things the NHS doesn’t fund but which make life and treatment more comfortable – anything from coffee machines to fleeces, staff room furniture to supported shopping for patients without money or visitors able to bring them what they need. And because we’re a charity run mainly by volunteers, 97% of what we spend goes into grants. 

Most of our grants are small but we sometimes make large donations. A big project this year has been redecoration of the children’s emergency department. UCLH Charity appealed for donations and we contributed a sixth of the cost - £30k towards a total of £178k. We also give £30k each year to the UCLH Arts and Heritage team, a donation which UCLH Charity matches.

Let us say 'thank you' for you!

Helping the Friends is a way to say ‘thank you’ to UCLH. Giving us £2 a month for three years would pay for an Easter egg hunt for a unit looking after long stay patients. Or for £4 a month for three years – the cost of a monthly cup of coffee – we could buy a ward fridge for food treats brought in by patients’ families. Or for £20 a quarter for five years – a fraction of a gym membership – we could buy fleeces to keep a staff team of thirty warm on night shifts. 

We especially need regular donations because they help us plan our spending. But we welcome all donations, large or small, one off or regular. We think of our donors as a community. We keep in touch through quarterly newsletters. We love to hear your ideas on how we should be spending the money you give us. And donors who make regular payments, whether monthly, quarterly or annual, are offered votes in the election of our trustees. We would be delighted to welcome you into membership of the Friends. Members and supporters are also invited to our AGM each November.  

So will you help us?

There are three ways to send us donations – online, by post, or by making donations direct into our bank account. 

Donations made online are convenient for us because the ‘Enthuse’ system collects supporter details and deals with Gift Aid, where applicable. 

Or, if you don’t like to use online systems, you could post a cheque to the Friends, c/o UCLH Charity, 5th Floor East, 250 Euston Road, London NW1 2PG. Make the cheque payable to Friends of University College London Hospitals. If you’re a tax payer, please also send a Gift Aid declaration. That also tells us who you are so we can thank you and keep in touch.

You can also pay donations directly into our bank account – sort code 18-00-02, account number 08798893, account in the name of Friends of University College London Hospitals. That way, we will not know who you are unless you tell us. So please think about doing that with a letter to the address above, because we really do like to know who our supporters are.

Our current appeal

In addition to our general appeal for funds, we have a current project in 2023-24 to restore a historic pipe organ in the multi-faith chapel at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square. We’ve teamed up with the National Brain Appeal, another UCLH Charity, our two charities sharing the £125k cost 50:50. The 84 year old organ has been silent since 2019 because of concerns about electrical safety. But the roof of the listed Victorian chapel needed to be repaired this year and this meant removal of the organ, creating a perfect opportunity to have the organ restored. It was removed to an organ builder’s workshop in Canterbury in January and will return at the end of this year. 

There will be some work to do in the chapel before the organ can be played but we expect it to be in use by the spring of 2024. UCLH Trust chair Julia Neuberger says: "this is a wonderful project, protecting the heritage of this extraordinary hospital. Patients and staff need the organ to have its voice back. We all look forward to a fabulous inaugural concert." 

When back in use the organ will not only support services. The chapel is a place for people of no faith as well, a place to rest and reflect, away from the pressures of work or treatment. The restored organ will encourage use of music therapy. It will continue the music-making tradition of NHNN staff. It will be used for recitals – possibly fund-raisers for the Friends. A playback system means that the organ will be heard without an organist sometimes.  

So we are giving you a choice. If you love organs you can give to this appeal specifically, by sponsoring a pipe – use the Donate to the organ appeal button. Or if you prefer, donate to our general funds. But please do one or the other!