Who we are - a community, not just a charity

The Friends of UCLH have been supporting UCLH for many years and, before that, supported the hospitals which came together to form UCLH. We fund ‘extras’ – things that the NHS doesn’t provide or can’t afford. Extras can be for patients or staff or both. In the three years 2019-20 to 2021-22 we spent £430k on ‘extras’. We see our donors as a community – people we keep in touch with through newsletters and talk to at annual meetings. We love to hear from you, and get your ideas on how we should be spending the money you’re giving us.

Our new appeal

Most of our grants are small but we sometimes make large donations - £64k in 2020 for murals in the new Ear, Nose and Throat and Eastman Dental Hospitals, for example. Our current big project is restoration of a historic organ in the 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 chapel building - is currently undergoing repairs which require removal of the organ. The charities are therefore seizing the opportunity to repair the organ at the same time. An organ building company has been appointed and the work should be completed by spring 2023.

So will you help us?

We know that not everyone is interested in organs! You may think – surely the Friends could think of something more worthwhile to spend their money on? But the organ is part of the NHNN’s heritage, built in 1938 by an important builder, Robert Spurden Rutt, and sitting in a lovely Victorian chapel, a listed building. If ever there was an ‘extra’, this is it. We and the National Brain Appeal hope that restoring the organ will revive Queen Square’s music-making tradition, encouraging music therapy for patients and providing relaxation for staff.

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 in 2023.

So we have two donation buttons – a choice for you. The button to the right lets you give online to our general funds, not to the organ appeal. The button below goes to our joint organ restoration appeal with the National Brain Appeal. What makes an organ appeal donation different is that donors have the opportunity to sponsor pipes, with their names permanently recorded in a commemorative book. You can sponsor large, medium or small pipes – 16ft, 8ft or 2 or 4ft - for £200, £100 or £50. Donations can be made in memory of people, too – this can also be recorded in the commemorative book. Think how nice it would be to feel that you’d contributed a booming 16ft Bflat sound in the chapel for the next 50 years! Once the organ is repaired we’ll send you a certificate to tell you exactly what you’ve supported.

You can read more about the organ project including pipe sponsorship in our Autumn 2022 newsletter.