The launch coincides with Mental Health Awareness week which this year is particularly pertinent for so many people who have experienced the challenges of COVID-19 professionally and personally.
Last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.
Now the new secret garden planned for the Northern General Hospital has been designed to provide more support for the health and wellbeing of staff and patients. Over the last year in particular it has been even more essential to have areas for staff and patients to escape the busy wards and the garden will provide a safe, quiet and relaxing space to enjoy nature outside of the main hospital building.
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.
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.
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 is part of a series of relaxation spaces created in partnership with Sheffield Hospitals Charity to help improve the health and wellbeing of staff working tirelessly across the hospitals.
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.”