Profession's charity celebrates 180 years of support
On April 15th 2021, Pharmacist Support - the profession's independent charity - celebrates 180 years of support. The charity has evolved from its small benevolent fund roots, providing financial assistance to those in the profession who had fallen on hard times, into a modern-day independent charity, focused on championing the wellbeing of their pharmacy family through a wide range of free and confidential services.
This shift in focus and expansion to supporting individuals in the profession with more emotional needs began twenty five years ago in 1996 with the launch of its Listening Friends scheme. Listening Friends is a peer to peer telephone service offering callers the opportunity to talk anonymously and in confidence to a pharmacist about any stresses they are facing. The move to providing more proactive support came in 2012 with the Legacy of pharmacy owner Robert Wardley, who wanted his gift in will to be used to help pharmacists in stress. This led to the charity developing a series of wellbeing workshops and in 2020, following feedback and further market research, to refresh its vision and mission and launch a new 5 year strategy focused on championing wellbeing in pharmacy.
'This has been quite the journey' commented Danielle Hunt, Chief Executive of Pharmacist Support. 'We've come such a long way from the organisation we were 180 years ago and are proud of the way we have adapted and responded to the profession's needs over this time. In continuing this responsive and proactive approach we're absolutely delighted as part of these anniversary celebrations to share news of several key wellbeing partnership activities. As we shift our focus now to the future, it is our hope that these developments will build on our existing services, providing more tailored and emotional mental health support as we move into the new phase of our charitable journey.'
Thanks to a grant from the Covid-19 Healthcare Support Appeal (CHSA), Pharmacist Support will soon be able to provide direct psychological support for those who are experiencing mental health issues. Through this funding the charity has established a new counselling partnership with The Counselling and Family Centre that will fund six counselling sessions. Pharmacists, trainees and students will be able to access this new service through the charity's website from the 23rd April.
Pharmacist Support is also delighted to announce the continuation of their well-established partnership with the Pharmacists' Defense Association (PDA). Through this partnership formed in September of 2017, the PDA pledged to donate '1 per member to the charity to support its valuable wellbeing work. To date the PDA and its members have donated '120,000 to Pharmacist Support, enabling them to continue to provide their free and confidential services and crucially to develop and launch their first wellbeing campaign (ACTNow) in 2020. The charity is delighted to be collaborating with the organisation in 2021 on the development of new trainee focused wellbeing resources.
180 years on from its inception, Pharmacist Support is proud to formally reconnect once again with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Through its partnership with the professional leadership body, the charity hopes to better understand and improve mental health awareness and practice within the sector. Over the past couple of years, the two organisations have been working collaboratively on a series of wellbeing focused activities, including workforce wellbeing surveys and webinars. In 2021 the organisations plan to continue this work to create the right working conditions and culture for good mental health and wellbeing in pharmacy, encourage the destigmatisation of mental health and enable pharmacy teams to access the support they need.
And finally, following their involvement in last year's successful ACTNow campaign, the charity is delighted to continue its partnership with the team at Alphega Pharmacy. In 2021 the partnership will focus on providing wellbeing support for Alphega Pharmacy staff and members, and training for a core team of ambassadors to champion wellbeing across the organisation.
'By working collaboratively and continuing to listen, we hope the Charity will continue to provide an independent safe space for those in our pharmacy family to share their worries and access support for many more years to come' said Danielle Hunt.
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Notes to editors:
- Pharmacist Support is an independent charity for pharmacists and their families, former pharmacists, pre-registration trainees and pharmacy students and is funded by donations from pharmacists and pharmacy organisations. Free & confidential support can be accessed via the charity's website: www.pharmacistsupport.org, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via their information and enquiry line: 0808 168 2233
- The Pharmacist Support ACTNow campaign was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ran from May ' August 2020. The campaign encouraged pharmacy teams, trainees and pharmacy students to:
- Allow time for wellbeing
- Consider the needs of your colleagues
- Take action
- The Counselling and Family Centre is a locally-run charity dedicated for the last 40 years to improving the emotional and mental health of their community. They are committed to quality and are fully accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.
- The PDA'is a not-for-profit organisation which supports the needs of individual pharmacists and pharmacy students and, when necessary, defends their reputation.'They'are the largest pharmacist membership organisation and the only trade union exclusively for pharmacists in the UK.'
- Alphega Pharmacy leading European network of independent pharmacists with over 1,000 member pharmacies across the UK and more than 7,100 pharmacies in 10 European countries*. Their aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of communities by delivering a future vision for independent community pharmacy. Alphega Pharmacy believe that the value of the pharmacists lies in being a provider of healthcare service and advice, not just a dispenser of medicines.'*As of 31 August 2020
Pharmacist Support was previously known as The Benevolent Fund of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and was re-launched in 2008 to reflect the modern day needs of today's pharmacists. Pharmacist Support became a charitable company limited by guarantee in 2015.
- The Charity provides confidential advice and support with issues relating to stress & wellbeing, welfare, addiction and finance.
- All services are FREE of charge and include; an information and enquiry service, financial assistance, debt, benefits and employment advice, a stress helpline (Listening Friends), home visiting, addiction support (Addiction Support Programme) and the Wardley wellbeing service.
- Some of the services offered are delivered directly by trained volunteer pharmacists. Due to a shared professional background, these volunteers are uniquely positioned to be able to understand the specific pressures pharmacists and their families and pharmacy students face.