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Commemorative garden outside the 1937 building (the hospital's main entrance)
Hospital 1937 building main entrance

The League of Friends of the Kent & Canterbury Hospital was founded in 1953 and since that time has contributed over £7.5m to the hospital, as well as providing services such as four hospital shops, ward library and daily shops ward trolley services and hospital radio. In recognition of its Diamond Jubilee in 2013, the League was keen to make a substantial gift to the hospital and on 1st April 2015, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the League's Patron, opened the Joan Bourner Diamond Jubilee Suite. The suite provides two separate relatives’ hospitality rooms for those visiting very sick loved ones. In 2015 the League was delighted to receive the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to recognise and reward excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life of others and for providing an outstanding service.

In the early days of the NHS it was clear that all patient needs could not be provided by the Welfare State and the League was formed to help provide what was missing. In the first year some £50 was raised, rising to about £4,000 per year in the sixties, £60,000 per year in the 80s, to around £300,000 per year since 2001 - a total of about £7,500,000 in the last 60 years.

Our running costs are truly minimal and a substantial amount of this money has been gifted to K&CH (and other hospitals in the group prior to 2001) to purchase a variety of items from carpets, ward curtains, walking frames, chairs and trolleys to sophisticated hi-tech equipment costing tens of thousands of pounds per item and used for ever more complex investigations, diagnosis and treatment of an increasing number of patients.

The money gifted by the League for the benefit of patients, visitors and staff is mainly used to purchase equipment which the Hospital Trust itself is unable to fund so K&CH depends on the League to help maintain and improve upon its current standards.

How is this achieved? The answer is by volunteers – and numerous fundraising activities.


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2015 Magazine


Annual Report

League of Friends’ members assemble Christmas gifts for hospital patients. Photo: Frank Hughes

Download Our 2014 Report