Essentials Hub

What is the Essentials Hub?

The Essentials Hub provides food and other essential items such as toiletries, sanitary products and cleaning items for anyone in the local community who may be struggling, due to cost-of-living increases.

Who can use it?

The Essentials Hub is open to the local community including all NHS and social care staff who are on site at Watford General Hospital.

Is it free to use?

People can pay what they can afford. If they can’t pay, that’s okay. If people are able to make a contribution, they can make a donation to Raise, the hospital’s charity, via a pay point.

When is the Essentials Hub open?

The Essentials Hub is for NHS staff and the community. Currently, it is open Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturday – 11am to 2pm. There are plans to extend hours in the near future. So keep an eye out for sandwich boards displaying opening hours – these will be sited outside the restaurant, the main hospital entrance (PMOK building) and under the flag (opposite the old League of Friends coffee shop).

Where is the Essentials Hub?

The Hub is based in two empty retail units on level 0 of the multi-storey car park at Watford General Hospital.

What items are available?

Non-perishable food items are available including: tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, crisps, chocolate, long-life milk, tea, coffee, cooking oil, pasta, salt, condiments, cordials
Toiletries, sanitary and healthcare items are available including: shampoo, conditioner, toilet roll, tampons and nappies.
Items available are subject to change.

Is the Essentials Hub accepting donations?

Yes. There is a ‘tap to donate’ pay point for anyone who would like to make a donation. These funds will go to Raise, our hospital’s charity. Please note we cannot accept cash donations at the Essentials Hub.

The Essentials Hub is happy to accept donations in kind. Donations of non-perishable, in-date food and other essential items can be dropped off at the Essentials Hub on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 11am and 2pm. The drop off location is on level 0 of the multi-storey car park at Watford General Hospital. Donors can bring their cars to the drop off location at the Essentials Hub to drop off items and volunteers will receive the donations.

We are currently in need of the following items:

  • Pasta, rice, pasta sauce, white sauce, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, crisps, chocolate, sweets, long-life milk, tea, coffee, cooking oil, salt, condiments, gravy granules, stuffing mix, spices, cordials
  • Household cleaning items: washing up liquid, kitchen cleaner, antibac spray, washing powder, cleaning cloths
  • Toiletries, sanitary and healthcare items including: toilet rolls, shampoo, conditioner, tampons, wipes and nappies

How will staff at the trust’s other hospital sites access the Essentials Hub?

Boxes of essential items will be circulated to the other hospital sites for distribution.

Who is running the Essentials Hub?

The Essentials Hub is a joint community venture led by the Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce and Sewa Day charity. Volunteers from Sewa Day charity and the trust’s voluntary services team will manage the Hub operations with support from volunteers from local businesses.

How long will the Essentials Hub be operating?

The Essentials Hub will operate while the units in the multi-storey car park are not being used commercially. Once the units become commercial ventures, the trust will review use of the Hub and if still viable, move it to another suitable venue on site at Watford General Hospital.

How do I contact the Essentials Hub?

There is no direct contact for the Hub. It is based on site at Watford General Hospital and run by volunteers. Queries or comments can be emailed to the trust’s wellbeing team at westherts.wellbeing@nhs.net

Do I need to show ID to use the Essentials Hub?

NHS staff would be expected to have their trust ID available. Those using the Essentials Hub will be asked to share their home postcode so the Hub has a better understanding of which local areas are accessing services.

Can anyone use the Essentials Hub?

The Essentials Hub will predominantly be used by West Herts Hospitals NHS staff. As the Hub is a community venture, it is also available to those in the local community who are in need of support.

Is there a limit to how often I can use the Essentials Hub?

It is important that the distribution of items in the Essentials Hub is fair and therefore there are no visit limitations. Volunteers supporting the Hub will also ensure fair distribution to those accessing it.

Why is an NHS trust running an Essentials Hub for the local community?

During the pandemic, the Chamber of Commerce and Sewa Day joined forces to support a collaboration of local businesses who collected, served and distributed over 20,000 meals to frontline NHS staff and local vulnerable families.  Over 70 tons of supplies were donated by manufacturers and diverted from landfill. This was the birth of ‘Feeding our Future’, a sustainable initiative which reduces waste and ensures people don’t go in need. The Essentials Hub is a follow-on initiative which continues the work of this collaborative network, helping out local families challenged by the economic climate. 

About Sewa Day charity

Sewa Day charity works with the aim of helping others and making the world a better place. Areas of work include foodbank replenishment, providing care for carers, serving and aiding the vulnerable, spreading joy. Sewa Day is a charity registered in England & Wales (No. 1146848). Find out more here.

About the Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce

The Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce brings together members of the local business community. It helps members to develop their businesses and bring benefit to the wider community in which they trade. One of the Chamber’s goals is to effect positive change in local communities. Find out more here.

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