HM TeaAndCo (2)smallCambridge University Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust Chair, Dr. Mike More, has launched a café with a difference at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Royal Voluntary Service Tea & Co in the hospital’s Outpatients area offers healthy nutritious options and new menus for NHS staff, visitors, and patients, including fresh fruit and healthy snacks and lunch options.

With significant range changes, product reformulation and promotions on healthier items, Royal Voluntary Service’s Healthier Choices programme is having a significant effect on consumer behaviour. In the first quarter of 2017, year on year sales of fruit increased by 25 per cent, healthier chilled snacks such as salad and sushi by 55 per cent and healthier sweet and savoury snacks such as popcorn and dried fruit by 109 per cent. Healthier Choices items represented 38 per cent of UK retail sales in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 26 per cent in quarter one in 2016.

HM TeaAndCo (5)Tea & Co is the latest development in the charity’s Healthier Choices retail transformation programme. It saw the launch of Royal Voluntary Service Revitalise (the first health-focused dietary-specific hospital shop) last October and Shop & Co (a contemporary hospital shop offering convenient healthy food, drink, and grocery choices) earlier this year. Staff and volunteer teams manage all of them. Proceeds from the charity’s 400 hospital cafés, shops, and trolley services fund its wider work enriching the lives of more than 100,000 older people every year in hospitals, at home, and in the community.

Government and food campaigners praise Healthier Choices

HM TeaAndCo (4)The charity has earned praise from Government and public health and hospital food campaigner Jamie Oliver. It has been ranked top of the Healthy Hospital Food League Table by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food and has been awarded a Social Enterprise Mark for its retail operation. All Royal Voluntary Service retail sites in England and Wales meet NHS England CQUIN requirements (for healthy eating for NHS staff). All Scottish stores have achieved the Healthcare Retail Standard.

Not only does it offer a range of healthy choices but is run by local Royal Voluntary Service volunteers. As well as preparing and serving food and drinks, the trained, caring volunteers – many of them aged over 70 – signpost services available to older people in the local community. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Royal Voluntary Service runs an activity centre, social clubs, and a car transport scheme – in addition to an A&E On-Ward service at Addenbrooke’s.

Dr Mike More, Board Chair of Cambridge University Hospitals says: “I was honoured to open the new café and know it will provide a much-valued service to our staff and patients. I would like to thank the charity and its volunteers for the enormous contribution they make here at the trust.”

Helping hospitals become hubs for healthier eating

HM TeaAndCo (1)Kate Bull, Executive Director of Retail for Royal Voluntary Service, says: “Our latest sales figures show that the transformation of our hospital retail estate is starting to shift consumer behaviour. We believe that the best way to support NHS workforce health reform is to help hospitals become hubs for healthy eating and drinking.

As well as rolling out the Healthier Choices programme, we are ploughing funds back into improving support services for older people. Healthier Choices was introduced less than a year ago and we are excited to see what can be achieved in the years to come.

We hope many more commissioners and hospital partners will follow the Addenbrooke’s example by partnering with us to transform their own retail operations.”

For more information about Tea & Co and Healthier Choices, visit or contact Andrew Roberts, Business Development Manager at Royal Voluntary Service,