Joint venture between RHS and the NHS to be rolled out to more sites
The Lewisham Hospital Healing Garden is the first of a planned network of outdoor spaces at NHS sites around the country
The first NHS Healing Garden has been hailed a success, paving the way for more schemes across the country.
As part of a partnership between the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the NHS, the programme was created during the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide safe and welcoming green spaces for hospitals and their local communities.
They are designed to provide quiet respite areas in which to reflect, as well as housing active gardening groups to bring communities together.
The first garden, designed by Adam Frost, opened at Lewisham Hospital and in the first six months 1,244 NHS staff, patients, and people from the local community have attended workshops and activities, from bulb planting and flower pressing, to yoga and plantpot painting.
“For people managing the stress of being in a hospital environment, the chance to come together and meet people, to relax, and to spend time connecting with nature in a beautiful green space is having such a positive impact on their health and wellbeing,” said an RHS spokesman.
And it’s not just the Lewisham Hospital staff and patients who have benefited from having a Healing Garden at the hospital. The project has also supported young people who are struggling in mainstream education, adults with additional support needs, people facing mental health challenges or homelessness, and refugees looking to integrate into their local community.
Frost said: “The Healing Gardens are an inclusive space that provide that all-important connection to plants and gardens and support the mental, physical, and social health of the local community.”
On the back of the success of the project, the RHS has raised more than £27,000 in donations to support projects in other hospitals across the country.