Career advice

Charity launches new programme to support nurses in times of hardship

The Cavell Nurses’ Trust's membership initiative is calling on organisations to help the thousands of nurses struggling to make ends meet.

The Cavell Nurses’ Trust's membership initiative is calling on organisations to help the thousands of nurses struggling to make ends meet 

Many nurses fall on hard times. Picture: iStock

Years of pay restraint is one of the reasons why increasing numbers of nursing staff are struggling financially, with many turning to charities such as the Cavell Nurses’ Trust for support.  

‘In the first six months of this year, we’ve had a 32% rise in enquiries for help,’ says the trust’s communications manager Paul Steiner. Last year, almost 2,000 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants contacted the charity – 36% more than in 2015 – and this year the number is expected to rise to around 2,500. 

Cavell Nurses’ Trust provides a tailored package of support for nursing professionals, both working and retired, who have money worries or personal problems due to illness, disability, older age or other reasons. 

‘This can range from providing a grant for something as simple as repairing a washing machine, to working with our network of other organisations to help someone who is experiencing domestic abuse,’ explains Mr Steiner.  

Last year, a survey of 2,200 nurses, Skint, shaken yet still caring, which was published by the trust, discovered that nursing staff are twice as likely as the general public to suffer monetary difficulties, and three times as likely to experience domestic abuse. 

Generating income

Research shows that support from the Cavell Nurses’ Trust can make a real difference. Of those who were helped last year, 88% said the support positively affected their physical health, with 96% reporting benefits to their mental health. In addition, 83% said it helped them get back to, or stay in work. 

This month the charity launched a new membership programme, Working with, which aims to create a long-term safety net for nursing staff.

‘The idea is to attract companies who share our belief that nursing professionals should get help and support when they need it,’ says Mr Steiner. ‘Nursing touches a lot of people’s lives. This shows your staff how much you value the nursing professionals we all rely on.’   

For an annual fee, members get a variety of benefits, including opportunities to collaborate on research, content for social media, early access to reports and campaigns and passes for trust events. ‘Alongside generating income, we’re hoping the programme will help us raise awareness of our work,’ says Mr Steiner. 

Of the programme’s 11 founder members, two are NHS trusts, including Northampton General Hospital. ‘We are sending a clear signal of intent that we will protect and promote well-being in our organisation. Our nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants deserve no less,’ says the trust’s director of nursing, midwifery and patient services Carolyn Fox. 

Mr Steiner says Cavell Nurses’ Trust is hoping another couple of dozen organisations will become programme members over the next 12 months or so, with nursing staff also playing their part in helping to recruit companies.


Lynne Pearce is a freelance health journalist 

This article is for subscribers only