National Grid ESO birmingham nhs

Supporting our colleagues and charities during COVID-19 – Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

We announced the launch of our community fund recently to support our colleagues who are involved in community-based organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community fund

Forward Thinking Birmingham

The next charity we’d like to highlight is Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust – Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB). They were nominated by our ESO Settlement Analyst Julie Bubb.

Forward Thinking Birmingham is the city’s innovative mental health partnership.  It is part of the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and is one of the largest child, adolescent and young adult mental health services in the country. Uniquely, it cares for patients up to the age of 25 years, in order to continue its critical care during the transition to adulthood. Its vision is to make Birmingham the first city where mental health problems are not a barrier to children, young people or young adults achieving their dreams.

Julie has a close connection with the Trust as her youngest son Matthew has been a heart patient at Birmingham Children’s Hospital since birth.  He has three Congenital Heart Defects and has had several heart procedures including open heart surgery over the last 14 years. Julie is aware that the Trust needs support for its innovative Forward Thinking Birmingham Mental Health Service during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“As a family we are in close contact with the fundraising team and participate in many fundraising events to try to raise as much as we can to support them.  We can never thank them enough for everything they have done. They are truly amazing.”

National Grid ESO Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS


The COVID-19 crisis is increasing the risk of significant mental health illness, self-harm and suicide amongst the most vulnerable groups that the service cares for. 

Social distancing measures, whilst vitally important for all, are having a detrimental impact on the mental health of the young people in its care as the need to isolate directly conflicts with the clinical advice that it would normally receive. It’s important for all our mental health to interact with others, and any of us are using technology to do this during lockdown. 

We were delighted to provide a donation as part of our community fund to support those patients most at risk during the current crisis. 

Our donation will be used for two main support actions:

  1. Providing mobile phones to the most vulnerable patients so that they can access video consultations with FTB staff  

Forward Thinking Birmingham looks after approximately 40 of the most complex patients across the city within its Intensive Community Outreach Team. This is in addition to other patients dealing with mental health illnesses. COVID-19 and the subsequent socially distancing measures have had a dramatic impact on all of these patients, many of whom do not have access to family and friends’ networks.  FTB will be purchasing a number of mobile phones to give to its most vulnerable patients. This will enable the team to continue its essential care remotely, in circumstances where some families have no camera phones, or having visual contact may be essential to assessing their wellbeing. 

  1. To provide ‘self-isolation’ kits for Home Treatment patients  

In additional, around 340 smaller self-isolation kits will be supplied to vulnerable patients who are shielding, have COVID-19 themselves, or where their family is struggling financially due to pressures placed on them as a result of the pandemic. Each box will include such things as reflective journals and notebooks, stress balls, puzzles and games and seeds to plant and nurture. The packs will also include details on how patients can access FTB’s services 24/7.

Elaine Kirwan, Deputy Chief Nurse at Forward Thinking Birmingham, said: “We’re so thankful to National Grid ESO for their kind donation. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic is long over, there will still be lasting effects on the mental health of the population."

“For our patients, the mobile phones provide a key communication tool, so that we can continue our vital care for those most at risk during the lockdown, while the self-isolation kits will offer tools to help with the anxiety and depression patients may be feeling at home. With the help of these items, we hope to limit the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on our young patients.”

We’re proud to support our colleagues and local charities that they are affiliated to. We’ll continue to highlight these charities and the fantastic work they’re doing over the next few weeks.