Sheffield Hospitals launch wellbeing garden to support patient and staff mental health

An ‘outdoor sanctuary’ will be created at a Sheffield hospital in a bid to improve the mental health of staff and patients.

By Lloyd Bent
Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 12:33 pm

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Hospitals Charity have launched the new ‘secret garden project’, which has been planned for the Northern General Hospital designed to provide more support for the health and wellbeing of staff and patients.

This comes after a year throughout which the mental health of NHS staff has been severely tested due to the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 40 per cent of thousands of staff surveyed at both Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust felt ill due to work-related stress as the coronavirus pandemic took hold last year, according to the latest annual staff survey.

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Adrian Stone and Kirsten Major at the site at the Northern General Hospital.

After working closely with staff to design a space that meets their needs, the garden will be full of calming spaces incorporating several seating areas, a herb garden, plants, artwork and opportunities for staff, patients and volunteers to get involved in activities.

Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Kirsten Major, said: “The Secret Garden project will provide a fantastic facility not only for our staff, but also for our patients and visitors to the hospital who are often with us in very difficult moments in their lives.

"If lockdown has taught us anything it’s that being outside and connecting with nature can be incredibly important for our wellbeing and so we’d like to thank Sheffield Hospitals Charity for supporting us with this project and allowing us to go that extra mile for our staff and patients.

"If this project is a success we want to look at what else we can do in terms of outside space at our other hospitals and community bases too.”

The ‘secret garden project’ comes as part of a number of measures put in place by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to support staff and patients.

Last year 45 calm rooms were introduced to provide staff with a place to recharge with access to snacks and refreshments and further information on support for both their physical and psychological wellbeing.

A Rainbow Garden was also created at the Jessop Wing Hospital incorporating picnic benches, seats, plants and large waterproof umbrellas for staff to use all year round.

The garden will be funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity via donations from the public and businesses community across the region, with the garden due to be completed for September 2021.

Chairman of Sheffield Hospitals Charity, Adrian Stone, said:“Sheffield Hospitals Charity is delighted and immensely proud to have been at the forefront of supporting Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for over 30 years. After an immensely challenging period for the NHS, we hope that the garden will provide a valuable boost to health and well-being to staff and patients across the hospitals and we would ask for everyone across the region to get behind fundraising for the project.”

If you’d like more information about the Secret Garden Project or would like to help fundraise for this stunning sanctuary of support, please visit