Each year the Friends of the Yeatman Hospital actively identify new health led initiatives in support of the staff, patients and Sherborne community including new hospital equipment, continued professional development programmes for the staff, and supporting the Emotionally Connected Sherborne Project.

Below are the projects the Friends supported in 2020.

Hospitals have to function irrespective of the day or celebration. So, Mother’s Day is not much fun if you are in hospital as patient or  on-duty in the wards, or the kitchens. To bring a personal touch and to let Yeatman patients and staff know they were not forgotten, the Friends delivered bouquets of flowers to brighten their day.

In 2020 the Friends continued its programme to support two strategic Mental Health care programmes and facilities in the Hospital and local community, focusing on the needs of school children, working age and older adults.

The Friends supported the Rendezvous Emotionally Connected Sherborne Project and upgrade work in Stewart Lodge and the Outpatients Department. The Rendezvous project enabled the appointment of a counsellor to provide early identification of mental health issues and education on positive mental health and well-being.

Ian Bartle, Sherborne Primary School Headteacher, wrote early in December 2020 to thank the Friends of The Yeatman Hospital for their support in helping the most vulnerable children at the school during this most challenging time.

In conjunction with the Rendezvous, children at Sherborne Primary are benefiting from the services of a qualified and independent counsellor to support those children most at risk.

Friends of the Yeatman Hospital have financially supported the Sherborne Community Kitchen, a community-volunteer project established through Sherborne Viral Kindness to help those in Sherborne and the surrounding villages who need assistance during the Coronavirus crisis. The purpose of Sherborne Community Kitchen is to provide food – at least one free hot meal and dessert a day – for the vulnerable and elderly in our community facing new difficulties as a result of COVID19.

Yeovil Freewheelers, often known as the Blood Bikes, are an Emergency Volunteer Service which supports Yeovil District Hospital, Dorset County Hospital and the community hospitals across our regions by providing emergency courier services for blood, platelets, blood and tissue samples, medication, breast milk, documents, X-rays, CT scans, and equipment. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Friends of the Yeatman Hospital have supported them financially as they extended their services in delivering Covid testing swabs through the night.

In recognising the impact of COVID19 the Friends placed a single post on Facebook, which received more than 500 responses. Within 48 hours an army of volunteer sewers was formed. 10 months later more than 5000 masks and hundreds of scrubs, hospital gowns and scrub bags were produced and distributed to clinical staff at the Yeatman, nursing homes, emergency services and Sherborne GP practices.


Not wanting to turn so many offers of help away, the Friends invited those interested to sew simple scrub bags that key workers could use to transport their used uniforms back home safely.  Over 2,500 bags were made by the local community often with notes of thanks and gratitude.  These were distributed to the staff and patients at the Yeatman, the local Ambulance Station, three GP surgeries, and 17 local care homes.

Hearing the need for PPE scrubs at the local Hayes Care Home, the Friends enlisted their team of seamstresses to make 20 sets of scrubs for their key workers which were gratefully received.

The Adult Speech and Language Therapy Service started a Chat Café in the dining room of the Yeatman, designed for people who have had a stroke and have difficulties with their speech. Sharing a simple drink and playing games with others with the same challenges enable them to meet others with similar difficulties. The group members support one another, and people have grown in confidence and self-esteem from attending the group.  The Friends of the Yeatman gave them a grant which they used to purchase games and conversation starter kits.

Unfortunately, a number of elderly and infirm patients fall, following which  it can be difficult to lift the individual back into their bed. The Blackmore Vale Lions Club donated funds towards the purchase of a new HoverJack bed which safely lifts patients who have fallen by inflating four chambers which slowly raise the individual from the floor to bed height in a supine position in comfort.   

In Spring 2020, the Friends replaced the Yeatman’s previous out-dated ultrasound Bladder Scanner, which is a non-invasive ultrasound clinical facility, used to assess and diagnose bladder disorders and dysfunctions, urinary problems and to effectively manage incontinence in patients of all ages, including young children.

The Ada Kearvell garden was officially opened on Friday 20 September in the afternoon.

The Garden was opened by Susan Arrow, partner of the late Tim Edwards. Tim was a cider maker for Somerset Cider Brandy and a very keen supporter of Cricket. Friends of the Yeatman held a special cricket match in memory of him. Money raised went towards a moveable book trolley for patients in the Yeatman and kitting out the Ada Kearvell Garden.

Mr White, volunteer gardener for the Ada Kearvell Garden, explained the importance of the plants planted in the garden. All have sensory properties…touch, smell and sight. Everyone enjoyed a cream tea following the ribbon cutting.

The Friends made a substantial financial contribution, in excess of £100,000, to the major refurbishment to two patient side rooms in the Willows wards and two Outpatient Clinic rooms in the main Yeatman building. 

Staff in the Willows were tired of playing Musical Chairs. (Families and Visitors often moved chairs from the Day Room to individual patients’ bedsides)  The Friends stepped in by spending 16K on new chairs for each patient’s bedside. These unique chairs offer comfort, pressure management and support for posture control to patients needing stability and safety. (September 2018)

In addition to contributing to Yeatman patient care, the Friends also are conscious of the wellbeing of hospital staff. To this end in 2018 we established a garden, a quiet area for staff to relax and unwind before, during or after their busy shifts – both night and day. Each year since its inception, the Friends have willingly contributed to the upkeep, maintenance and improvements in the garden. (Summer 2018)

Dorset Health Care Trust opened the refurbished X-ray suite in May  2018.  As part of this major project, the Friends purchased a superior X-ray couch.  This specialized bed provides optimum versality in advanced positioning of the patient, making it more comfortable for the patient and easier for the radiographers. (May 2018)

Legacy Achievements

Below are the projects the Friends supported in the past.

The Friends have recently funded the reconfiguration of space on the Willows wards to create a second facility comparable to the well-used Jean King Suite.  Both suites enable close relatives to stay with their loved-ones for longer periods than the normal visiting hours, and afford more privacy, together with a range of amenities to help them cope with especially stressful times.

The new suite has been named in honour of the longest serving Matron of the Yeatman, Ada Kearvell, who was in post from 1908 until her retirement in 1934.  Read about her award of the Royal Red Cross medal by King George V in our “News” section. Funded 2017

The new  Ophthalmology Department, substantially funded by the Friends, is now operational and offers the following out-patient services for patients of Yeovil consultants:

  • Glaucoma Clinics
  • Cataract Clinics
  • Ocular Plastic Clinics
  • Optometrist Clinics
  • Nurse-led Pre-Assessment Clinics

The Friends are delighted that this should benefit many patients.
Funded 2016

Sarah Hill cuts the ribbon to officially open the Don Mildenhall room. Photo by Terry Fisher

The newly refurbished Day Room for the inpatients at the Willows has been renamed in honour of the Friends former President of many years, and will now be known as the Don Mildenhall Room.

The refurbishment including wide concertina patio doors has all been funded  by the Friends, and now provides a bright room for a variety of purposes and a wider view of the garden.

One of Don’s daughter’s, Sarah Hill, officially opened the room in July and is seen in the photograph with Matron Anne Hiscock and former Chairman of the Friends, Mike Hatch.
Funded 2016

Xario 200 Ultrasound unit

The previous unit failed, and an urgent replacement was required to preserve the ultrasound service in Sherborne.

It is compact and versatile, allowing a large range of ultrasound examinations to be undertaken locally.

The Xario has superior image quality, which improves accuracy of diagnosis.

Local facility in addition to that in Yeovil helps to keep waiting times as short as possible.

Funded 2016

Many x-ray examinations of knees, ankles and feet need to be done whilst a patient is standing.

The Simple Up allows a patient to be safely elevated to the x-ray facility, having mounted just a three inch step.

Especially beneficial for elderly and frail patients.

Time-saving, safe, and easy to use.

Funded 2015

Physiotherapists use this to help reduce soft tissue inflammation, and to accelerate healing.

The most common conditions treated with ultrasound include soft tissue injuries such as tendonitis, scar tissue and non-acute joint swelling.
Funded 2015

This is used largely in the rehabilitation of patients with lower limb problems, but also those with low back pain and cardio-vascular conditions.

It helps to build strength, and improve range of movement.
Funded 2015

In addition to the Friends  purchasing the Ultra-violet machine, they also contributed to costly specialist training to ensure its safe operation.

UV rays are used to treat troublesome skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema which often require multiple treatments.

Few hospitals in the county have this facility.

We funded the installation of televisions for every patient in The Willows to use free of charge.

More recently we have installed WiFi to help patients keep in touch with family and friends, and the wider world.
Funded 2015

The long-awaited re-decoration and refurbishment of a room on the Willows Wards giving Staff a space to take their well-earned breaks has been funded by the Friends.

Purchases – new area for staff to take their breaks.

Friends funded the re-decoration and furnishing of a room on the Willows Wards which affords an agreeable space for  discussion of sensitive issues between patients, relatives and staff.

It also affords space for quiet “Time-out” from the wards when required.

Purchases 2017 – Quiet Room on Willows Wards

The Friends have installed an electronic information screen in the Minor Injures Waiting Room.   This avoids  the need for medical staff to interrupt their treatment of patients to greet new arrivals.

Lots of useful information is displayed whilst  patients wait to be attended to.

  • Purchase of land for the Stewart Wing
  • Significant contribution towards the cost of building the Stewart Wing, and its subsequent refurbishment to form the Willows Wards and Minor Injuries Unit
  • Landscaping of the Willows garden
  • New entrance to the Out-patient department
  • Items for use in the Day Surgery theatre
  • Equipment to enhance opportunities for patients in occupational therapy and physiotherapy
  • Reference books for various departments
  • Upgrade of chairs for waiting areas and patient comfort
  • Specialist chairs to assist corrective posture of patients
  • Electronic sun-blinds to wards in the Willows
  • Miscellaneous items such as war-time recipe books for the memory clinic and large-face clocks for the wards