STUDENTS raised funds for life-saving medical equipment by throwing a tea party recently.

The students, who all have learning difficulties or autism, worked together to prepare and sell a variety of baked goods to support the NHS.

They raised funds that will be donated to the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust’s MRI scanner appeal.

The trust is currently attempting to raise £2.5m to purchase two new scanners for Darlington Memorial and Bishop Auckland hospitals that would provide improved images and a better patient experience.

Amanda Form, the learning and organisational development manager at CDDFT, praised the students, who are working at the trust as part of Project Choice, a Health Education England supported internship programme that offers work experience in a supportive environment.

Ms Form said placements were going very well as she recognised the students’ contribution to the trust and to the fundraising appeal.

She added: “This is the first year we’ve worked with students from Project Choice and we’re really touched that they wanted to get involved with the celebrations, baking and buying cakes that they then sold.

"They raised over £60 for our appeal to bring new state of the art MRI scanners to Darlington Memorial and Bishop Auckland hospitals.

“We put a lot of effort into getting to know the students as individuals so we can meet their differing needs in order to give them the best experience.

“The students will be with us for a year, working in a number of placements during that time.

“We’re very proud of them and delighted to have them with us.

“They have shown great commitment and enthusiasm and have fitted in really well into our large organisation.

“We’re also very proud of, and grateful to colleagues who are guiding and mentoring these young people, giving them valuable work experience and confidence.”

The students currently work in teams across the trust’s sites, where they have impressed staff by taking on a variety of roles, from admin to portering, housekeeping and catering.

Anyone with fundraising ideas for the MRI appeal should call 01325 743781.