BRICKS & MORTAR BUILD SUCCESS FOR RENOWNED HOSPITAL CHARITY

Published: 5 July 2021

Most people will have heard of the Royal Brompton Hospital, but few will know the history of its charity and the unique way it raises funds.

A Lifeline IT client, the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity was founded to support innovative treatment, equipment and research that falls outside of NHS funding at the Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals. And whilst much of its donations come from fund raising, it was a gift of land over 200 years ago that enables it to carry out such vital work.

Lifeline IT talks to the charity’s Director of Property & Estates, Stewart Butcher, who tells us all about the organisation, from when it was first founded to modern day, as well as how it has managed during Covid.

How was the charity founded?

In 1820 a gentleman called Lord Rose gave a large amount of land around Kensington and South London to the hospital. Then in 1948 when the NHS was founded, the medical buildings were transferred to the NHS and the other non-medical buildings that the hospital owned became the charity.

The property division is one of three revenue streams for the charity – there is also the Fund Raising and the Investment Portfolio – and my role is to oversee the property portfolio and make sure it operates effectively and is generating/maximising income for the charity

We have a mix of property – retail shops, office space and high-end residential property.

What are the challenges of running the charity’s property division?

We have to give exceptional customer service and are on call 24 hours a day. Some of our tenants are in properties that cost £4,000 a week so we have to offer a first-rate service. But I’m lucky to have a great team around me who are all very strong, which makes a huge difference.

What are the best things about the role?

The job itself is incredibly rewarding – I’m never one of these people who have that ‘Monday morning’ feeling and wake up not wanting to go to work. I’ve been at the charity for 18 years and the day that happens it will be time to give up.

I think in terms of achievement it has to be the fact that the property portfolio has been brought up to a much higher level – this means we can generate more income and help finance projects. It also gives the trustees confidence to see that the portfolio has improved and so has the income it generates.

How has the pandemic affected you?

When it started, we switched to home working and that was only possible because of Lifeline IT – they have been a huge benefit to us. The service we get from them is exceptional and they make our life so much easier. I’m so glad we started working with Lifeline before the pandemic started, as they made the switch to remote working easy.

In terms of the charity, one of our main appeals over the last year has been our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal – it raised over £1.4 million in quite a short space of time, which is incredible.

To find out more about the charity, go to www.rbhcharity.org.

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