Knowing how profoundly busy and incredibly hard-working all our 5,000 members of RUH staff are, a new wellbeing-garden opening this spring will offer a peaceful and uplifting contrast to the activities of their daily lives. It will provide a sanctuary for relaxation and fresh air, enticing them to take timeout from the pressures of a busy hospital and connect to the environment around them.
The project has been a great collaboration – funded by the official RUH Bath trust charity RUHX, supported by NHS Charities Together. And with the Friends of the RUH providing community volunteers to plant the new borders and maintain the gardens in the future.
Access to the wellbeing garden will be for patients and visitors too. The hospital plans to use ‘green prescribing’ which encourages people to spend time outdoors and connect with nature-based activities to help with a wide range of health problems. Being in contact with a natural environment contributes to an improved sense of wellbeing, which can have a positive impact on peoples’ rehabilitation and help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Nickie Jakeman, ED Consultant, who has been the champion and driving force for this project and the RUH’s focus upon green prescribing said:
“We believe that we need to rekindle our connection with nature and the sense of wellbeing this provides, and to reinvigorate a sense of community with people and the planet around us.”
“The RUH community wellbeing garden is an opportunity for us to work together to develop a food-producing landscape that sustains the environment and benefits the community. It will undoubtedly have a massively positive impact on our staff, patients and their families.”
This new garden where staff and patients can pause and enjoy some much-needed headspace will include:
- a new walkway which will provide an accessible and safe route to the entrance of the hospital for all to use away from traffic
- picnic furniture to create additional external dining space and provide benches to entice visitors to rest and connect to the tranquil environment around them
- vegetable and herb growing spaces offering an opportunity to get involved with gardening activities, growing food and learning about planting, growing, harvesting and composting
- a range of wildflowers and plants that have been chosen for their aesthetic and multi-sensory qualities.
Work on this new improved space started in early February and will be complete in spring.