Health Way Foundation Logo next to the text 'Frequently asked questions'


What is a NHS charitable fund?

NHS Charitable Funds is the term used to cover the money that is not received as a normal part of NHS business but is rather money donated or left to the Trust, to pay for additional items that might not be purchased in the normal course of business.

The definition employed by the Charity Commission to identify an NHS charity is that:

  • the charity is established for charitable purposes relating to the NHS;
  • its trustee arrangements have been established by the Secretary of State for Health under NHS legislation; and
  • the individuals responsible for ensuring that trustee duties are fulfilled are appointed by the NHS by one means or another.

There are over 235 NHS charities across the United Kingdom that support NHS trusts across the country.  Collectively these charities give £1 million every day to the NHS so that people can stay well for longer and get better faster. In recent years NHS charities have funded major capital projects, pioneering research and medical equipment, helping patients access the best possible care when they need it most.

They also play a key role in mobilising volunteers to support NHS staff, brightening wards and waiting areas with colourful and engaging art and building an important link between the trusts and their local communities.

How does the Health Way Foundation complement NELFT’s work?

  • NELFT aims to provide best care to our service users and aims to be an exemplary employer taking care of and supporting our teams
  • NELFT will continue to do this but there are times when the needs of the people we support and work with cannot be met within NELFT’s remit as an NHS organisation
  • Our charitable arm will aim to meet these needs, which will typically be beyond the clinical care and exceptional employee support NELFT provides

We will not fund work that NELFT should rightly have within its budget eg PPE, clinical care, ward renovations, team training and away days.  We have capital and expenditure budgets in place for these already in NELFT.

How does the Health Way Foundation fit within the Strategy of the Trust?

Our charitable work supports and works within the Trust Strategy and potentially can play a key role in funding an initiative not otherwise possible.

What kinds of things can charitable funds pay for?

The types of expenditure routinely paid from charitable funds tends to fall into one of four areas:

  • Enhancing the patient environment
  • Patient specific expenditure
  • Staff and service development
  • Funding of projects

Where do funds come from?

The funds currently have come from many sources including, patients, donors, and fundraising events.

The charity works hard to promote the brand across the organisation, service users and local communities to get involvement in the charity, whether that be by individual giving, fundraising events or gifts in wills. 

Who makes the decision on allocating funds?

The NELFT charity ensures that all applications are considered.  Successful applications will ensure that the not only meet charitable objectives and legal requirements, but also ensure that the application considers the need of beneficiaries.  Decisions on making the funds are set at a delegation level:

£1 - £200                           Authorisation from Charity Manager

£251 - £10,000                 Further authorisation from Fund Holder

£10,001 +                         Further authorisation from Charitable Funds Committee

If I donate money, can I specify how it should be used?

We are grateful for all donations to the NELFT Charity. Donations can have the caveat of being directed to a particular service or issue. Often, someone will spot a need through contact with a service or identify something that would enhance how we support service users or staff. So we will ensure any monies donated to benefit the identified service.

What are funds not used for?

Charitable funds cannot be used to meet budget deficits, funding gaps, or personal items for individuals.