FNF unites with the historical Nightingale Fund

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On June 30th the Nightingale Fund and the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) became one charity. The union will strengthen the FNF’s objective to provide support to nurses and midwives, to improve care and save lives, whilst honouring Florence Nightingale’s legacy.

FNF is a UK-based charity, with a history of almost 90 years, established by the international nursing community to pay tribute to the life and work of Florence Nightingale. The idea was first proposed at the 1912 International Council of Nurses Congress in Cologne and agreed at ICN Grand Council in Montreal 1929. In 1934 the Florence Nightingale International Foundation was established. In 1953 the Florence Nightingale Memorial Committee of Great Britain and Northern Ireland became its own charity and in 1994 changed its name to become the FNF of today, providing contemporary and relevant leadership development opportunities, promoting evidence-based practice, and influencing policy.

The Nightingale Fund was established in 1857 and is the keeper of the original endowment raised because of fundraising undertaken for Florence Nightingale towards the end of the Crimean War. In 1859 Florence Nightingale used some of the Fund to set up the nurses’ training school at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. The Nightingale Fund Council and Florence were then influential in the design of the new hospital, St Thomas’ on the Albert Embankment site, opened on June 21st 1871. The Fund continued to support healthcare education in compliance with the original aspirations of Florence Nightingale. The Fund has, for much of its history, been safeguarded by the Bonham Carter and Verney families because of their family connections with Nightingale, until today by Thomas Bonham Carter and Sir Edmund Verney.

Entrusting these funds to FNF will enable the Foundation to support UK nurses and midwives through its unique leadership scholarship opportunities. The FNF scholarships are a once in a lifetime opportunity for nurses and midwives to develop as leaders to improve patient and health outcomes.

“Through the FNF scholarship I took up a digital project to find ways to make the service more accessible. This work will not only improve the experience of service users and carers, but will improve prognosis and the likelihood of recovery; reduce the likelihood of relapse and hospital admissions; and result in fewer people needing long-term mental health services'” Matt Brayford, Mental health Nurse, Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board, 2022-2023 FNF Digital Scholar.

FNF will also fund an annual lecture to incorporate the history of Florence Nightingale and of The Nightingale Fund.

Given both organisation’s connections to one of the world’s most famous, and influential, nurses, it is a fitting union and places, in experienced hands, the guardianship of funds raised directly in honour of Florence Nightingale’s work.

Professor Greta Westwood CBE, CEO of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, says: “It is a privilege for the Florence Nightingale Foundation to be entrusted with the responsibility of these funds. We will continue to honour Florence’s legacy by supporting nurses and midwives to be the best they can be and to have an even greater impact on patients, people, and the communities in which they work.”

Tom Bonham Carter, Acting Chair and Trustee of the Nightingale Fund, says: “The Nightingale Fund has faced considerable challenges over the last few decades in trying to fulfil Nightingale’s wishes. There has been an inexorable rise in the cost of the post registration courses nurses and midwives need to complete to improve their care for patients. At the same time there has been a decrease in the financial support available from the NHS and other healthcare organisations for nurses and midwives to undertake education. The Trustees of the Nightingale Fund and the Council have unanimously agreed to joining with the Florence Nightingale Foundation in the hope that FNF will be better equipped to take on these still ongoing challenges and fulfil Florence Nightingale’s wishes. We are confident that, given FNF’s strong reputation and extensive experience in this area, its hard work to honour Florence’s legacy will continue”.