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Wellbeing gardens open at York Hospital

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28 July 2022

A charity funded scheme to create much-needed wellbeing gardens for staff and patients at York Hospital has been completed, and the gardens were officially opened by Simon Morritt, Chief Executive of York and Scarborough Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Alan Downey, Chair.

Funds were raised during the height of the pandemic to transform two gardens in courtyards at York Hospital for staff to take a much needed break in an outdoor space.

The gardens were created with input from staff, who were invited to put forward their suggestions of how to make the best use of the outdoor space to connect with others and have the opportunity to reflect during Covid times.
Griselda Goldsborough, Art and Design Development Manager with the Trust’s Art Team, and Teena Wiseman, Project Manager, were tasked with helping bring the project to life.

Griselda said: “A lot of thought and planning has gone into the gardens to make sure they are accessible and welcoming and we are delighted to see so many of our staff are already enjoying the new outdoor spaces. The gardens are based on five well-recognised steps to take to improve your mental health and wellbeing - connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give – and staff were asked to contribute with their ideas.

“It was important that both staff, patients and visitors could enjoy them so one garden has an accessible walkway to encourage patients to walk and stay active. A circular path allows access for wheelchairs and hospital beds so loved ones can be together outdoors. Both gardens have seating and seasonal and leafy plants with a sensory area. We hope staff and patients alike will find the gardens therapeutic and will enjoy a bit of sanctuary within the busy hospital environment.”

The Trust has invested over £200,000 to create the gardens, only possible due to a major donation from Yorkshire artist Harland Miller and other donations including York Rotary and John Lewis.

Artist Harland Miller created 250 editions of the print, Who Cares Wins (2020) in the style of Miller’s Penguin dust jacket series, which sold for £5,000 each and all editions sold out in less than 24 hours. The aim was to raise funds those working on the coronavirus frontline, particularly carers, who Harland recognised are among the lowest paid in society but also most at risk of catching the disease. Because of Harland’s Yorkshire connections, York and Scarborough Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was one of the lucky recipients.

Alan Downey, Chair of the Trust, said: “Staff wellbeing has never been more important and it is fantastic to have areas where staff and patients can take a break, spend a bit of time reflecting or just enjoy the sun.”

Rachel Brook, Charity Manager for York and Scarborough Hospitals Charity, said: “We will be forever grateful for the generosity of our donors which has meant we now have these valuable outdoor spaces which will benefit staff and patients for many years to come. As pressures continue to increase on the NHS this will make a real difference to people’s working day.”

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"A lot of thought and planning has gone into the gardens to make sure they are accessible and welcoming" 

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