Cambridge University Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust Chair, Dr Mike More, has officially opened our café with a difference today, Tea & Co. at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Royal Voluntary Service Tea & Co. situated in the hospital’s Outpatients area offers healthy nutritious options and new menus for NHS staff, visitors and patients, including fresh fruit and healthy snacks and lunch deals.

With significant range changes, product reformulation and promotions on healthier items, Royal Voluntary Service’s Healthier Choices Programme is having a significant effect on consumer behaviour. In the first quarter of 2017, year on year sales of fruit increased by 25%, healthier chilled snacks like salad and sushi by 55% and healthier sweet and savoury snacks like popcorn and dried fruit by 109%. Healthier Choices items represented 38% of UK retail sales in the first quarter of 2017 vs 26% in quarter one in 2016.

Tea & Co. is the latest development in the charity’s Healthier Choices retail transformation programme which saw the launch of Shop & Co. (a contemporary hospital shop offering convenient healthy food, drink and grocery choices) earlier this year. All are run by staff and volunteer teams and proceeds from the charity’s 400 hospital cafés, shops and trolley services fund its wider work enriching the lives of over 100,000 older people every year in hospitals, at home and in the community.

The charity has earned the praise of Government and public health and hospital food campaigners Jamie Oliver. It has been ranked top of the Healthy Hospital Food League Table by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food and has been awarded a Social Enterprise Mark for its retail operation. All Royal Voluntary Service retail sites in England and Wales meet NHS England CQUIN requirements (for healthy eating for NHS staff) and all Scottish stores have achieved the Healthcare Retail Standard.

Not only does it offer a wide range of healthy choices but is run by local Royal Voluntary Service volunteers. As well as preparing and serving food and drinks, the trained, caring volunteers - many of them aged over 70 - signpost services available to older people in the local community. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Royal Voluntary Service runs an activity centre, social clubs and a car transport scheme – in addition to an A&E on-ward service at Addenbrooke’s.

"I was honoured to be asked to open the new café and know it will provide a much valued service to our staff and patients. I would like to thank the charity and its volunteers for the enormous contribution they make here at the Trust."

Dr Mike More, Board Chair of Cambridge University Hospitals

"Our latest sales figures show that the transformation of our hospital retail estate is starting to shift consumer behaviour. We believe that the best way to support NHS workforce health reform is to help hospitals become hubs for healthy eating and drinking. As well as rolling out the Healthier Choices programme, we are ploughing funds back into improving support services for older people. Healthier Choices was introduced less than a year ago and we are excited to see what can be achieved in the years to come. We hope many more commissioners and hospital partners will follow Addenbrooke’s’ example by partnering with us to transform their own retail operations."

Kate Bull, Executive Director of Retail for Royal Voluntary Service

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