Volunteers who raised thousands for the NHS will no longer run two Sheffield hospital cafes

Two cafes will soon no longer be run by volunteers
Two cafes will soon no longer be run by volunteers

A team of dedicated volunteers will no longer run two Sheffield hospital cafes.

Sheffield Teaching Hospital bosses confirmed the Royal Voluntary Service lost out in a bid to carry on running two cafes in the Hallamshire and Northern General Hospitals.

The RVS said they were 'disappointed' they had lost out after having a presence in the hospitals for over 30 years raising over a £1 million for the Trust.

The contracts went out for tender and it's understood a London-based firm secured the deal which begins on April 1.

Hospital bosses were keen to stress all the money from the new lease arrangement will be 'reinvested back into patient care'.

'More flexible' visiting hours for patient's relatives and the 'range of beverages and food available' was said to be an important factor in the decision.

Peter Sephton, from Sheffield city centre paid tribute to to the volunteers.

He said he would often visit the cafe at the Hallamshire for tea, coffee and cake when his wife was ill in hospital.

"It's really sad the selfless volunteers will no longer to running it - it's most likely down to a commercial decision no doubt," he said.

"It's fantastic that they raised so much money for the hospital and the fact they didn't get paid a penny in return is remarkable.

"Their hot drinks and cakes brought a smile to my wife's face but it wasn't just about food and drink, they were always their for the friends and relatives of patients during difficult times."

Kate Bull, executive director of retail for Royal Voluntary Service, said: "Our volunteers and staff at the hospital have worked tremendously hard to support those at the hospital and their efforts have been hugely appreciated.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for everything they have done to make the services at the hospitals a success. We will be working with our volunteers to identify other opportunities within the hospital and local community.”

Kirsten Major, deputy chief executive at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very grateful for the amazing support we have had and continue to receive from the Royal Voluntary Service and indeed they will continue to run the coffee shops in the Spinal Injuries Unit and Weston Park Hospital.

"We are aware that our visiting times have become much more flexible and the expectations of visitors and staff have substantially changed over recent years in terms of catering outlets and especially their opening hours. Other important factors about the range and type of beverages and food available were also taken into account.

"We carried out a robust tender process which resulted in a number offers being received along with a proposal from the Royal Voluntary Service. Regrettably the Royal Voluntary Service proposal was not successful.

"The new coffee shop on B Floor at the Hallamshire Hospital will open around June and will now be open until 8.30pm in the evening and extended opening hours at the weekend."