A hospital tea bar which has been serving patients and visitors for over 30 years is set to close in the new year.
The volunteer-led tea bar, which is located in the outpatients department at Grantham Hospital, will close at the end of March 2018 as part of plans to modernise the shops and cafes within the county’s hospitals.
It follows the closure of WH Smiths newsagents at Grantham Hospital, which will close at the end of this month to be replaced by a convenience store.
Associate director strategic business planning, facilities, Claire Hall said: “United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has entered into an exciting partnership with CH&Co to modernise the shops and cafes for staff and patients at our hospitals. We have also offered to work with the Red Cross to look for volunteer opportunities still at the hospital.
“The trust has been working with the Red Cross and has agreed with them that the tea bar will cease operating in Spring 2018. This was confirmed in November.”
The announcement has come as a shock to the tea bars 40 volunteers, who have started a petition to try and save it from closure.
Stephen Tongue, fundraising manager for the British Red Cross, said: “We would like to thank the volunteers who run the tea bar in Grantham Hospital.
“They have provided thousands of visitors and patients with warm cups of tea, and a warm welcome. We are truly grateful for their many years of dedication and devotion.
“The Red Cross has provided refreshments in Grantham Hospital for many years. But United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust informed us earlier this year that the lease on the outlet was due to expire and that it intended to award the new lease to a commercial brand to provide catering facilities in Grantham and its other hospitals.
“We know that the hospital’s decision will be upsetting for some of the volunteers as it marks the end of an era, and we are sad to see it go.”
Since learning of the hospital’s decision, we have been looking at alternative opportunities to volunteer within the Red Cross and will continue to discuss these with our volunteers.”