Volunteers from the Royal Voluntary Service coffee bar have raised £837 for Wharfedale Hospital as thanks to the staff and patients who helped save their beloved coffee bar from closing.

Last year, volunteers at Royal Voluntary Service were told that due to a re-tendering process with the hospital trust’s catering, their coffee shop in outpatients would be closed down. This was a tremendous blow to staff and patients, as well as volunteers, because the Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS) have been providing teas, biscuits and friendly faces at Wharfedale Hospital for over 50 years.

Jean Richardson, who has volunteered with the organisation for ten years said: “All the volunteers were shocked and disappointed when we heard that the coffee shop would be closing. The WRVS have been serving patients and visitors at Wharfedale for fifty years. It wasn't just a matter of serving tea and coffee, it was the interaction with the patients, particularly the elderly.”

However, thanks to the support of people in Otley and the surrounding areas Leeds Hospital Trust agreed to continue on the contract.

The volunteers arranged to fundraise at their local Waitrose through applying for the ‘green token scheme’. They were successful in raising £837, which they have given to outpatients to go towards a dermatoscope – an aid to diagnosis used in the dermatology clinic. Sister Barbara Martinez said the dermatoscope would provide easier recognition of malignant melanoma, fibrosis and will ensure prompt treatment planning for patients. In addition, all profits from Royal Voluntary Service shops and cafes are gifted back to Leeds Hospital Trust on an annual basis.

The volunteers would like to thank the local community for supporting them in their time of need – and hope that by remaining open, they can help many others in return.

Royal Voluntary Service Coffee Bar at Wharfedale Hospital continues to be open every weekday and is run entirely by volunteers. If you would like to volunteer with Royal Voluntary Service contact the Leeds & York Hub on 0113 887 3595.