New fruit and vegetable stall launched at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary

A new fruit and vegetable stall that launched today (Monday 2 December) outside the main entrance of Newcastle Hospitals’ Royal Victoria Infirmary has been welcomed by patients and visitors as a healthy addition to the site.

L to R: Nichola Balmer and Robert Balmer owners of the stall and Passion 4 Fruits at the RVI team: Keith  Cleminson,  Andrea Graham, Michele Balmer,

The stall has been set up in partnership with local greengrocers, Passion 4 Fruits, to give staff, patients and visitors to the hospital greater opportunity to get their five-a-day.

Maurya Cushlow, Executive Chief Nurse at Newcastle Hospitals said: “We always encourage our patients to maintain a healthy diet, especially during stays in hospital to help aid their recovery.

“The wellbeing of our community is hugely important to us and after listening to feedback from staff, patients and visitors, we have partnered up with local greengrocer to increase access to fresh produce.

“We are keen to give everyone the opportunity to make healthy choices. Having the stall outside the hospital means patients, visitors and staff can pick up fresh fruit and vegetables on their way to, or from the hospital, four days’ a week.”

Paula Coulson, Nurse Specialist - Adult Clinical Nutrition, was inspired to set up a fruit and vegetable stall on the site after visiting other hospitals with established stalls, noting the positive impact it had on staff and visitors: “Staff have commented on how great it would be to have ease of access to a wide range of healthy snacks, taking fruit to meetings to share with colleagues rather than biscuits or cakes so it is great to be able to provide them with that.

“Staff visitors and patients can now benefit from the readily available fresh produce, particularly parents and carers who may spend significant time in the hospital. The stall makes a great addition to visiting times bringing fruit to aid recovery by providing vital nutrition but also hydration as fruit and vegetables provide a great source of hydration.”

L to R: James Callaghan - Head of Service - Nutrition & Dietetics, Paula Coulson - Nurse Specialist, Lisa Guthrie - Associate Director of Nursing, Maurya Cushlow - Executive Chief Nurse at the stall at the RVI

Local greengrocer Robert Balmer, will be providing the fruit and vegetables outside the hospital said: "We are absolutely delighted to bring this accessible service to the RVI to promote and help people eat affordable quality fruit and veg.

"My grandad has owned a fruit and veg stall in Grainger market and we have been providing fruit and vegetables to people in Newcastle for over 70 years, we also provide to the local residents of Low Fell. We are extremely proud to be able to bring this to patients, staff, visitors and local residents of the Royal Victoria Infirmary."

The fruit and vegetable stall will be outside the hospital doors, Monday to Friday: 8am – 5pm.

The Trust plans to open another stall at the Freeman site early next year.

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