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RCN Foundation

Many of you may have heard of the RCN Foundation, but may not be entirely sure of who we are or what we do. Some may even be wonder whether we are simply another arm of the Royal College of Nursing?  I hope that this article gives you a better understanding of our work and, importantly, how you can get involved.

The RCN Foundation is an independent charity and grant-maker which is committed to supporting and strengthening nursing to improve health and wellbeing. Together with the RCN, RCNi (the RCN’s commercial subsidiary) and RCN Hold Co (which provides personal injury and other legal services) we form the RCN Group.

We support the UK’s many thousands of nurses, midwives and health care support workers by: providing income maximisation advice and financial support to vulnerable nurses who are facing hardship; investing in the future of nursing by funding education and career development opportunities; and funding innovative, nursing-led projects that aim to make a positive difference to health and wellbeing. As a charity, our funding is available to any member of the nursing team who needs it, and not only those who are RCN members.

The impact of our work so far has been direct and often far-reaching. The Foundation-funded Lamplight Support Service helps some of the most vulnerable members of the nursing community including those who have to face physical and mental ill health, domestic violence or eviction. Our data tells us that in 2017 an individual given advice by Lamplight was on average £3,400 better off before a grant was even made. Importantly, 74% of grant recipients said that the grant increased their independence.

In 2017, we also increased the number of education grants that we awarded by 55%. Around one-fifth of individuals who we funded told us that their careers had developed in some way as a result of receiving the grant. This included through seeing their work published, presenting at major conferences or moving into senior positions.

Our project work has focussed on improving care in a care homes by supporting and strengthening nursing in that setting. This is a vital area of work and we are looking forward to seeing the outcomes of the projects we have funded later this year.

Despite all of our activity, there remains so much to do. We have recently agreed a new strategy – our Strategy 2020 – which identifies our priorities for the next three years. We will be continuing to support the care home agenda, but will also be focussing on two other themes, mental health and learning disability. We will also be revamping our education grants programme, making sure that it meets the challenges of modern nursing.

We would love to hear from senior nurses who want to get involved with our work. For example, you might be working in one of our priority areas and have expertise to provide; or you might wish to support some of our education grant recipients as a mentor. Whatever your input, please get in touch at deepa.korea@rcn.org.uk By working together, we can ensure that we continue to support, strengthen and champion nursing both now and in the future.
 

Deepa Korea
Head of the RCN Foundation