Charity launches 2021 Impact Report

Despite the challenging circumstances, 2021 proved to be one of exciting new developments and great impact for the profession’s charity.

Charity showcases its impact through investment in digital, the environment, diversity and inclusion

Celebrating its 180th anniversary, the charity marked this significant milestone and its evolution from small benevolent fund to a modern day independent charity by investing in digital and expanding its wellbeing offering, as well as focusing on equality, diversity, and inclusion and its environmental impact.

“It is important to us that the charity not only reflects current demand but innovates to ensure we are aligned to understand and meet the future needs of our profession” commented Pharmacist Support Chair Esther Sadler-Williams. “Our support and how it is delivered must be accessible to all – no matter when or where an individual needs support, irrespective of the sector they work in, their age or background. As our charity vision states – we don’t want anyone in our pharmacy family to face challenging times alone and without us by their side.”

During the year the charity launched a new website that provides an improved and more intuitive user experience. The new site can host its extensive library of digital resources and extends the charity’s support beyond the traditional 9-5 office hours. Development of a new Customer Relationship Management system has also enabled the organisation to improve and streamline delivery of its support, its data collection and monitoring and evaluation. Together these digital developments have begun to reduce the demand on the charity’s information and enquiries team, and provide an enhanced resource to reach and support a great many more individuals.

In response to issues highlighted in the charity’s joint workforce wellbeing survey with the RPS, Pharmacist Support also expanded its wellbeing offering.

Thanks to funding from the COVID-19 Health Support Appeal, in April the charity was able to address the increased need for mental health support, through the launch of a new counselling service and expansion of its Listening Friend peer support scheme. We’re especially pleased to report that 290 sessions of counselling were delivered to 67 individuals by the end of 2021, many of whom presented with trauma symptoms, arising either from their direct experience of working during the pandemic, and/or from previous experiences of trauma which the pandemic had re-triggered” said Sadler-Williams.

Other wellbeing developments included the launch of a new Wellbeing Learning platform – facilitating individual’s access to the charity’s wellbeing workshop content – as well as the expansion and segmentation of its ACTNow wellbeing campaign. In 2021 the campaign ran at key points in the year, targeting the specific needs of each of three groups in the pharmacy family (students, trainees and pharmacists). A total of 12,795 acts of support were provided through the website across the wellbeing campaign periods (up from 6,865 in 2020) and over 24,000 acts of wellbeing support were provided via its workshops, the online wellbeing learning platform and through online wellbeing resources.

“Our impact continues to grow thanks to the strong partnerships we have established across the profession. These partnerships have supported us to increase awareness of our services, as well as help us financially to deliver more support to our pharmacy family. During 2021, we worked with several partners, and particular thanks are extended to the PDA, Day Lewis, Bestway Medhub, Well and Alphega Pharmacy.” commented Sadler-Williams.

During the year we have also focused on strengthening our Board as well as honing our overall approach to diversity and inclusion. In May 2021, Pharmacist Support signed the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Inclusion and Wellbeing Pledge: a commitment to be inclusive, celebrate diversity, create a culture of belonging and support pharmacy teams’ health and wellbeing. To support this commitment, the charity continued to work on our equality, diversity and inclusion plan. In the latter half of the year the Board led a Trustee recruitment exercise, welcoming applications from across the profession, and highlighting that ‘lived’ experience was more important than previous Board or Trustee experience. We were delighted at the end of the year to welcome five new members to our Board.”

Following a landmark judgement from the High Court at the end of April, which clarified guidance that charity trustees can choose to invest ethically Pharmacist Support Trustee’s also reviewed the charity’s investment policy. Acknowledging that there is a climate crisis, they made the decision to divest from producers of fossil fuels by the end of 2022 and will consider the impact on the climate of the decisions they make in line with their charitable objectives.

To view the full Pharmacist Support 2021 Impact Report, click here.