HISTORY

of the Friends of Turriff Community Hospital

  1. Background

The Association (formerly League) of Friends in Turriff was formed initially through the efforts of Anne Lipp.  In the course of her work as a nurse in the NHS, Anne could see the benefits other hospitals in the area and in the country as a whole enjoyed because of similar Friends’ Associations being attached to hospitals.

  1. The Start in Turriff

When the Turriff Branch commenced in 1991, Anne organised a public meeting in the town Health Centre.  This was attended by Mrs Rose Reid of Peterhead, the former Scottish National Chairman of the National Association of Hospital and Community Friends.  At this meeting, a local committee was formed with Tom Nicol, a solicitor, as Chairman and Alan Cruikshank, a pharmacist, as Vice-Chairman.

  • The first committee meeting was held in February, 1991.
  • A constitution was drawn up with the help of the Friends of Chalmers Hospital in Banff.
  • We became a registered charity with the Inland Revenue.
  • We joined the National Association of Hospital and Community Friends and further changed in 2005-06 to ATTEND, a public company limited by guarantee, to comply with new charity legislation in England and Wales.
  1. Purpose

The purpose of the Friends of Turriff Community Hospital is to create, encourage, foster and maintain the interest of the public in providing a link between the hospital and the community which it serves.  The Friends support and assist the staff and patients by purchasing additional medical equipment that NHS funds cannot provide; providing entertainment/treats for the patients in the hospital;  helping to enhance the environment and surroundings of the buildings;  occasional visiting;  etc. We are all volunteers, so all we do is done in our spare time.

  1. Initial Fundraising

A first priority in 1991 was to raise some funds.  This was done through advertising for members in the local press, the joining fee being set at £2.  As a result, some £300 to £400 was given.
Turriff May Day Event:  A hospital bed race took place from the Cross to the Square as a sponsored event.  It was held about 3pm on the day, when the streets were very busy – cleared of traffic, of course! – and raised several more hundred pounds.
Balquholly Ball:  A buffet dance was held in a marquee at the lake at Balquholly.  This again was a most successful function, but the organisation was very hard work!  It was these activities that really launched our Association’s fundraising efforts.

  1. The First Real Challenge

This was to raise monies to extend the day-room at the hospital which was opened in February, 1993.  £20,000 had already been donated by the then-defunct Turriff Scots Girls’ Friendly Society.  The final cost of the day room was £35,611 and we were pleased to be able to achieve that total.

  1. Social Activities for Patients

Originally when the hospital had 9 long-stay beds and 10 short-stay beds, there was considerable social interaction between the Friends’ Committee and the hospital staff and patients.  Outings, lunches, and entertainment took place on a regular basis, but with the current position of all 19 beds being for semi-acute, short-stay patients, there are not the same opportunities for such activities, but we do provide regular funding for various ongoing patient activities on a monthly and seasonal basis eg Christmas, Easter and summer.

  1. General Fundraising

Over the years, this has varied with such events as car boot sales, jumble/redd oot sales, May Day stalls, sponsored activities, quiz nights, bridge evenings and coffee mornings;  also, a Big Band Concert was arranged in 2004 in Turriff Academy Hall and was well attended;  and in May, 2007, the Deveron Singers agreed to perform a concert in St Ninian’s and Forglen Church with the proceeds going to the Friends.
In addition, our Strawberry Fayre in July has become a regular annual feature of the fundraising programme (the attendance at our 2013 Fayre was disappointing as it clashed with Andy Murray winning Wimbledon!).  In fact, our Strawberry Faye and our Coffee Morning in November have become our two regular fundraising events.

  1. X-ray Unit Appeal

Between 1996 and 1998, the hospital in Turriff benefited from a £1m extension and refurbishment which included the installation of an x-ray unit on site to cut down on the number of referrals to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for this facility.  The Friends of Turriff Hospital undertook to raise funds for this x-ray unit which cost £65,000.  In the end, we managed to raise and contribute some £48,216 towards this project, the difference being met from Health Board funds.  It was also agreed that once installed, the x-ray unit would be run and maintained by the Health Board.
Raising such an amount of money was a major task.  At the outset, the Friends’ committee in Turriff called a public meeting involving other groups and organisations in the town and district to which there was a favourable response.  In September 1997, a Fete was held in the Haughs which was co-ordinate by the Friends’ committee, and involved a number of local organisations and individuals taking part.  This was well-supported by the public, proved a great success and gave us a good financial boost.  A Quiz Night was also held at an early stage and gave a further injection of cash for the project, but at this stage the local community spirit really took over, with groups, organisations, businesses and individuals arranging their own fundraising activities and donating the proceeds to the X-ray Appeal.  The Friends’ committee continued to co-ordinate fundraising activities and at an early stage, opened a special X-ray Appeal bank account.  In the end, thanks to the generosity of the community and district, sufficient funds were raised for the x-ray equipment to be bought and installed in the newly-refurbished and extended hospital.
The alterations and extension to the hospital as a whole were opened officially by Malcolm Bruce MP in the summer of 1998, whilst the X-ray Unit was officially opened by Mrs Anne Lippe, Past Chairman of the Friends’ Committee, on 16th April, 1999.

  1. Committee Meetings

These are held regularly throughout the year every two months with the AGM being held around February/March.  There are 12/13 on the committee including a representative of the medical staff who keeps the committee informed of current needs and developments.

  1. Who Benefits from the Funds Raised

The hospital itself, of course, and the Medical Practice and community nursing teams, all for the wellbeing and comfort of patients, be they in hospital or at home in the community.  Having certain pieces of equipment on-site can also save patients having to travel to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for their treatment.

  1. Public Support

Regular donations come from many groups – businesses, organisations, families and individuals within the community which the hospital and Health Centre serves. There is a huge community spirit and generosity in Turriff and district, and we are all most fortunate in this respect compared with many city and urban areas.

  1. Charitable Status

Because we are a registered charity group, many items of medical equipment used directly for treatment or diagnosis can be purchased by us exempt of VAT at 20%, which means that our funds can stretch to buying more equipment for patients.  We can also claim Gift Aid on donations from tax payers. Such exemptions are approved by HM Customs and Excise on behalf of the Inland Revenue & Customs.  All our finances are now regulated by OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) set up in 2005 to comply with the new government legislation introduced as a result of scandals surrounding misappropriation of charitable funds (a Cancer Fund in particular in Scotland).  This legislation has set in place strict procedures which charitable organisations must adhere to, to maintain their charitable status.

  1. Administrative / Health & Safety

Procedure In recent years in particular, more and more regulations and paperwork have been introduced which volunteer organisations have to comply with eg vetting of committee members, risk assessments for fundraising events, food hygiene requirements, stricter accounting procedure etc.  All this takes additional time to that required to fulfil our original purpose and makes it increasingly difficult to recruit new volunteers!

  1. Turriff Academy Senior Pupils

Since September 2004, we have involved two Turriff Academy Senior Pupils on the committee.  This initiative is now part of the Academy’s Senior School Responsibilities Programme, allowing pupils the opportunity to gain a wider experience and become directly involved with their local community.  We have one in S5 and one in S6, the idea being that the one in S5 will serve for two years with a new S5 pupil being introduced each school session.

  1. Website / Facebook

Our website at helps to advertise our existence and give an insight into what we do.  It contains sections on ‘History’, ‘Committee’, ‘Recent Events’, ‘Upcoming Events’ and ‘Recent Expenditure’.  Under ‘Gallery’, you will find an archive composed of photos and news reports going right back to our inception in 1991.  This archive has been compiled from the various scrapbooks accumulated by members over the years. You can contact the Friends via the ‘Contact Us’ section.
You can also find us on Facebook – just search for ‘Friends of Turriff Hospital’.

  1. Press Relations

We have an excellent continuing and developing relationship with the ‘Squeak’ (Turriff and District Advertiser) which often links with ‘The Press & Journal’.  This is very good for public relations and also helps to advertise our activities to the community, the funds we raise and how the money is spent.

  1. General Information

We are very fortunate to have a local hospital in Turriff and long may it continue to be here to serve our community.  We now have 19 beds short-stay with local doctors and health team just next door, based in a modern up-to-date Health Centre well-managed and run.  In addition, a Social Care Team is now based in the hospital and Health Centre complex.
With an ever-evolving Health Service, the Friends endeavour to support and assist the Turriff-based medical team to deliver as many diagnostic and treatment services locally to try to reduce as much as possible the need for patients, and, as a consequence, their relatives, to travel to Aberdeen for such services, but obviously the most serious conditions still require assessment and treatment in ARI.
The Friends have raised well over £500,000 since that start in 1991. Some members of our committee have served from then but we are always looking for new blood and fresh ideas.

Why not come and join us!