‘Distress’ as Eastbourne DGH coffee shops are given notice

The RVS runs two coffee shops at Eastbourne DGH, but the contract expires at the end of the month
The RVS runs two coffee shops at Eastbourne DGH, but the contract expires at the end of the month
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A group of adults with special needs were left ‘upset and distressed’ after being told the coffee shops they volunteer for are set to shut.

The two Royal Voluntary Service-run shops at the DGH are set to close at the end of March, after the contract was awarded to another firm.

The group with special needs, along with several other volunteers, were told at a meeting a couple of weeks ago their services would not be required at the new shops.

Lee Nolan helps one of the volunteers with special needs and supported her at the meeting. He said those gathered were left “upset and very distressed” by the news.

Lee said the adults with special needs were offered the opportunity to volunteer as Friends of the Hospital, but this would require them to submit formal applications and have training sessions.

He said, “The adults we care for could not work in a retail shop. She would not be able to cope. But she enjoyed working in the coffee shop, helping out, clearing up. Unless they get one-to-one support they can’t do the job.”

Chris Hodgson, associate director of estates and facilities at the DGH, said, “The RVS franchise for the two cafes at Eastbourne DGH ends on March 31 and in line with NHS procurement requirements, a tendering process was held. The RVS did not submit a tender, and so the contract to provide the two cafes and a new healthy eating facility at the hospital was awarded to another company. Our Hospital Volunteer Service has met with the RVS volunteers and will work with them to identify suitable volunteering opportunities within the hospital or signpost them to other local voluntary organisations. Whilst all our hospital volunteers are required to complete some paperwork before they can become a volunteer, support to complete the forms is available for anyone who may need it.”

The RVS confirmed it did not take part in the tendering process and expressed its thanks to the volunteers.