SCFT’s Fran Hamilton takes on the Brighton Half Marathon to give back to our charity

06 April 2022

Fran Hamilton running the Brighton Half Marathon

Fran Hamilton joined Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust as the Deputy Dementia Lead in September 2021. Working alongside Dementia Lead Alison Keizer, they give consultancy, direction and training to help teams across SCFT provide the care and support that will enable people living with dementia to thrive while using our services.

Fran was one of our amazing Sussex Community NHS Charity runners who took part in the 2022 Brighton Half. Raising an incredible £500 for our charity, these funds will play a vital role in supporting staff, patients and volunteers.

Not only has Fran been a fundraiser for our charity but has also successfully been approved charity funding to make RITA (Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities) software available across a number of SCFT sites. RITA has been shown to improve the experience of people staying in hospital by increasing their motivation and well-being. It does this by offering opportunities to stay in touch with the world via media, entertainment and contact with loved ones. The software will have a huge impact on the Dementia services, helping patients and aiding staff.

We caught up with Fran, to find out more about her experience with our charity.

Why did you decide to run for the charity?

I received an email quite early one Saturday morning, and signed up before I woke up properly, and once the sponsorship money started coming in it felt unfair to back out!  I want to say a big thank you to everyone who supported me with encouragement and motivation, sponsored me and for everyone who contributes to the SCFT Charity.

What was your experience on race day?

It was such a wonderful atmosphere, and great weather. Lovely blue skies and a lovely supportive crowd. It was great to see (and hear) the SCFT Cheer Squad.

What training did you do for the Brighton Half?

A few years ago, I did the NHS Couch to 5K programme and managed to run my first 5K at one of the local Park Runs. I kept up with Park Run on Brighton Seafront for a few years, and then extended this out to the occasional 10k. When I got the email through asking if anyone wanted to run for the Brighton Half Marathon for the SCFT charity I thought I'd give it a go. I followed a 16-week programme from Garmin which helped me get from 10k to the half marathon. It's also kept me running outside, well wrapped up throughout the winter, and I think that's made a real difference during the darker months. I tend to run along the seafront listening to Podcasts or Audiobooks (more often than not, a really dark thriller!)  

How have you found the charity has benefitted you as a member of SCFT staff?

I've been really impressed with the amount and scope of the projects funded by the Charity, for both staff and patient wellbeing.

You are leading a project with the charity to help Dementia Services, why is it important to help this service?

SCFT Charity along with some of our hospital League of Friends, have been so supportive in our bid for new and Upgraded Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities - RITAs for each of the Intermediate Care Units. These systems can help people thrive whilst in hospital, including those living with dementia or experiencing a delirium. Watch this space for more information coming soon.

Why do you think other staff should support the charity?

I've really appreciated the amazing support I've received from the Charity Team both whilst getting ready for and running the half marathon, and in getting the bid ready to support patients using our services.  

Thank you Fran, we really think you are fantastic!