New garden at town hospital aims to bloom

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare, cuts the ribbon held by pupils Josh Charlton and Abbie Broad to formally open the community garden, with representatives from Northumbrian Water, Groundwork NE &Cumbria and children from Kids 1st Nursery and St Benedict's Middle School.
Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare, cuts the ribbon held by pupils Josh Charlton and Abbie Broad to formally open the community garden, with representatives from Northumbrian Water, Groundwork NE &Cumbria and children from Kids 1st Nursery and St Benedict's Middle School.

Volunteers have dug in to help open a new community garden at a hospital.

The new feature at Wansbeck General Hospital was officially opened by Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The idea for a garden was first raised some years ago so it is fantastic that it has developed into a space for everyone to enjoy

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Work has taken place over the last year in partnership with Groundwork NE & Cumbria, Northumbrian Water, Proctor and Gamble, voluntary and community groups, and local schools.

The low maintenance garden is for the recreational, educational and, where appropriate, therapeutic use by hospital staff, visitors, patients, community groups and other interested individuals and groups.

It includes raised beds, mosaic paving showing different insects, animals and plants you might find in the garden, a willow arch, native wild flowers, a woodland walk planted with fruit trees, a dry stone wall and a seating area.

Representatives from the partners and students from St Benedict’s Middle School in Ashington, and children from Kids 1st Nursery in the grounds of the hospital attended the opening.

Mr Mackey said: “The idea for a garden was first raised some years ago so it is fantastic that it has developed into a space for everyone to enjoy.”

“We look forward to it being used by many more people in the future.”

Ian McMinn, non-executive director for the trust and chairman of the charitable funds committee which funded the project, said: “Coming to hospital can be a stressful time for patients and their relatives and the garden provides a pleasant environment for everyone to enjoy, as well as to explore.

“I’m delighted that our charitable funds have been able to help develop the community garden for everyone’s benefit.”

Kay Bradshaw, area manager for Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: “We must thank all the groups and individuals, schools and businesses that, with their hard work, made this garden happen.

“This is just the start, the garden will grow and it’s there for everyone.”

A team from Northumbrian Water Group was involved in the garden as part of their commitment to ‘Just an Hour’, their employee volunteering programme which sees employees volunteering their time and skills to help organisations in the communities they serve.

The team, led by Richard Davison, were involved early in the project with the heavy digging work and laying the paving which cuts through the garden.

Richard said: “We were delighted to be asked to be part of this project, it really makes a difference and gives something back to the communities we work with.”