23 February 2021

A nurse at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) is selling homemade soaps to raise money for Above & Beyond.

Alexandra Jenkins has worked at the hospital for two years and has seen the hospital benefit from funding from the NHS charity.

She was working in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) on Christmas Day and her patients had presents to open thanks to donations to Above & Beyond.

Alex said: “It made a real difference to them and to all of us, it was lovely.

“I started making soaps as a lockdown boredom activity and I had some interest from friends and family asking to buy them. I didn’t really want to make a business out of it or make a profit, therefore I was inspired to raise money for Above & Beyond.

“It’s a safe hobby I can do at home and I have some experience with other similar things, such as making scrubs and bath salts.

“It’s very therapeutic, especially since it involves essential oils which I personally find very helpful for my mental wellbeing. I also enjoy the creative aspect of thinking of recipes and blends, and love using dried flowers to make interesting effects in the soap.

“The thing I enjoy most is giving it to others. I make minis for my colleagues and send some to family as presents.”

As well as working in the NHS, Alex has some personal connections to Bristol city centre hospitals. Her husband Carl has had multiple cardiac operations and procedures, first at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (BRHC) and later in the BHI.

Alex said: “The care he received at the BHI was part of the reason I chose to apply for a job there many years later.

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer at 55. He was treated at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC), both as an outpatient and an inpatient.

“His care was also second to none. He sadly moved to palliative care and the staff at BHOC helped to get him home to enjoy his 56th birthday. He passed away just over a month later.

“I will never forget what they did for him. He was so proud of my work and he would’ve been the biggest supporter of my fundraiser.”

Soaps are available in return for a voluntary donation. To buy a soap, email Alex on [email protected].

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