The Evelyn Trust pledges £1m Centenary funding for youth mental health and high-tech surgical scanning

The Evelyn Trust pledges £1m Centenary funding for youth mental health and high-tech surgical scanning

Centenary celebration

The Evelyn Trust has earmarked £500,000 for a scheme to boost mental heath support for young people in Cambridge; and an additional £500,000 for an advanced inter-operative MRI scanner at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. 

Centenary celebration

The pledges, announced at the Trust’s Centenary celebration in November, will double the £1m per year which the Trust normally gives to health and well-being and medical research projects in Cambridgeshire.  They will bring to over £23m the Trust’s grants to date. Disbursement will be subject to the usual grant conditions.

The celebration, held at Magdalene College on Thursday 10 November, recalled the Trust’s origins as the Evelyn Nursing Home in 1922-23 and two decades of grant giving since 2003. The proceeds of the sale of the Evelyn to the Nuffield Hospital 20 years ago formed the endowment from which grants are made annually.

Mayor and Mayoress of Cambridge

The Trust’s contribution to health in Cambridgeshire was recognised by the high interest in the Centenary celebration, with attendance by 120 people including The Lord Lieutenant’s office, the Mayor and Mayoress of Cambridge and the High Sheriff among other dignitaries, donors, charities, senior doctors and academic researchers. 

Julian Agnew, President of the Trust, spoke about his great-grandparents’ part in founding the hospital and its transformation into a major grant-giving trust in 2003. The keynote speech was given by Professor Dame Sally Davies, Master of Trinity College, who is formerly the Chief Medical Officer of England. Dame Sally spoke about the importance to clinicians of being supported to understand evidence-based medicine early in their career – one of the areas that The Evelyn Trust has supported over many years.

Other presenters spoke about their work funded by the Trust. Dr Nicole Asemota of Papworth Hospital spoke about her studentship, which aims to increase the numbers of donor hearts being accepted for heart transplantation. Andrew Palmer of Cambridgeshire Deaf Association described information videos in sign-language made with a camera funded by the Trust, as well as a hearing aid service for care homes. His presentation was signed by colleague Rachael Dance. Dr Ronit Pressler spoke about improving diagnosis of neonatal seizures, which is kindly sponsored by the James Bradfield Memorial Grant via the Trust.

The two Centenary projects were unveiled. 

Beth Green chatting to other attendees

Beth Green, chief executive of Centre 33, which supports young people with mental health and other issues, described the plans with other partners for a Cambridge YESH – Youth Early Support Hub – to help young people access early mental health support and other advice and help in a welcoming, non-clinical, space. Such hubs have proven to be a huge benefit in other cities and one is sorely needed in Cambridge, which has much less capacity in this area than other major cities.  Sadly, the need for such support among the young continues to grow. She said the Trust’s £500,000 contribution is expected to attract other funders to come forward to cover the total cost of around £3million.  

Professors Peter Hutchinson and David Rowitch of Addenbrooke’s and the University of Cambridge spoke about Project Pegasus - the plan for an Intra-operative MRI scanner on the Addenbrooke’s site. This specialist scanner is used during surgery on brain tumours and other conditions that require delicate and highly accurate procedures. It can improve the accuracy of surgery and thus reduce the likelihood of repeat operations. Again, the Trust will be a contributing partner and a magnet for other funders.

Attendees enjoying a drink and a chat

The Centenary event included an exhibition of the wide range of causes the Trust has funded, such as homelessness, support for parents, assistance for the disabled and research on neuroscience, engineering in the clinic and surgical training.

The Trust’s Charity Director, Rebecca Wood said, “We received so many enthusiastic comments from those attending about the quality of the speakers and projects, as well as their amazement that The Evelyn Trust had funded so much and so widely over the last 20 years since the creation of the endowment, benefiting many thousands of Cambridgeshire people. There was also huge interest in the importance of the two Centenary projects, and we hope that we have helped to catalyse the funding which will be needed for the Cambridge Youth Early Support Hub and the Intra-Operative projects to go ahead.”

Photographs courtesy of Keith Heppell, Pictures Editor , The Cambridge Independent.

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