The Chronicle understands the Countess wants to take the Comfort Zone shop and Cafe, based in the maternity wing, back within the in-house catering department.
For the last 16 years the shop and cafe have provided an income to the 25-year-old Chester Childbirth Appeal which has funded numerous hospital initiatives over the years including a Special Baby Care Unit Extension and Bereavement Suite for grieving parents.
The business, which is run by paid workers and volunteers, is popular with patients, visitors and staff because of its warm and friendly environment.
But now the charity has been given notice to vacate the cafe and shop area by January 16, 2017, although legal advice is being obtained.
Founder Pat Daniels said: “All I can say is we have recently had correspondence from the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and as a result of this we have sought independent, professional advice. Until we have received this we have nothing more to say.”
An earlier idea to replace the charity cafe with a Costa has apparently been abandoned. But the person who tipped off The Chronicle said the decision to oust the charity was ‘a disgrace’.
It was back in 1991 that retired midwife tutor Pat Daniels and a small group of midwives started the Chester Childbirth Appeal as the first charity devoted to supporting a maternity unit.
Their aim was to provide facilities that were over and above those afforded by the NHS, such as a more comfortable homelike and attractive environment.
As well as income from the shop and cafe, the charity organises concerts and has a stand at the Cheshire Show each June as well as attending various fairs along with other local charities.
“We also have a devoted team of knitters who make lovely baby garments and toys. In 2000 we opened our Comfort Zone shop/cafe and children’s play area,” Mrs Daniels told The Chronicle previously.
“All profits made from these kind of events are transferred to the charity, and the work of the appeal has been so successful that its staff say they can honestly, hand on heart, say there is not a mother, baby or child cared for at the Countess of Chester Hospital who has not benefited from it.”
Tony Chambers, chief executive at the Countess, said: “Charity appeal director Pat Daniels is a remarkable woman, viewed with fondness and gratitude by all those who have worked with her closely over the last 25 years.
“While we are making some specific changes to the management and running of the charity coffee shop, we remain committed to working closely with Chester Childbirth Trust for the collective benefit of all our patients and supporters.”
The space occupied by the Chester Childbirth coffee shop will be managed in keeping with the rest of the hospital and its catering services.
The Chester Childbirth Appeal fundraising offices will remain on site.
Staff employed by the charity to work in the coffee shop to whom TUPE applies will be transferred.