On Thursday 25 January 2024, the Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Team at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Service by Croydon Council. The award was presented by Tony Pearson, Civic Mayor of Croydon, with the Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun in attendance, alongside members of the Trust’s senior team.

This prestigious award recognises the importance of the pastoral, spiritual and religious care the team provides to around 550 inpatients and their relatives, 4,500 staff and 200 volunteers each year at Croydon University Hospital. It also recognises the work and impact the team provide within the community of Croydon and the surrounding areas through caring, promoting and becoming actively involved in the life of the community.

Led by Lead Chaplain The Revd Andy Dovey, the team has supported victims of the Croydon tram crash in 2016 and offered round-the-clock care to patients and families during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing particular care and support for families who have lost loved ones. Andy works with The Revd Lynbert Douglas and The Revd Deborah Premraj to provide religious and spiritual care to people of all faiths and beliefs, with their wider team of more than 80 chaplaincy volunteers.

“I am delighted to see the work of Andy Dovey and the whole Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Team – including the large army of volunteers – recognised in this way,” said Bishop Christopher. “Healthcare chaplains are the unsung heroes of the NHS – day after day, week after week, they faithfully serve, coming alongside people of all faiths and beliefs in some of the most challenging times of their lives, giving hope and spiritual comfort to staff and patients alike. I was particularly glad to be able to give an address of appreciation and also to thank the Civic Mayor of Croydon for his participation and strong support in awarding Certificates of Recognition to each member of the Chaplaincy Team.”

“In our calling, we are there for everybody,” said Andy. “Healthcare chaplains are called to minister for all of those in their darkest hours regardless of the risk to ourselves. What we do as chaplains should replicate Christ’s action as we serve others and seek God’s grace and the Holy Spirit to encourage us in our duties to others.”

Andy, who is also Bishop Christopher’s Adviser for NHS Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care as well as District Scout Chaplain for Croydon Scouting, has been at the Trust for the last five years. The chaplaincy team has strong links with the community and in 2022, they opened the Crocus Garden – a special place for parents that have suffered a miscarriage or child loss. Families can plant a crocus bulb to remember their child.

Andy said: “I chose the crocus bulb because of its significance with the origins of Croydon’s name (coming from the Crocus plants that it used to grow) and the symbolism of new life each year. The garden has been a significant contribution to the care provided to families that have suffered such a loss. Some parents have visited and told us that it is the only place where they can remember their child.”

For more information about Croydon Health Services NHS Trust: www.croydonhealthservices.nhs.uk