Wellbeing Garden officially opened by Lorraine Kelly08 December 2020
The project which was filmed for ITV’s Lorraine Show and opened by Lorraine Kelly, shows the complete transformation of the existing space, with new plants, seating areas and walkways.
The work was jointly funded by the Trust and St George’s Hospital Charity, as well as accessing funds from NHS Charities Together. The work was undertaken by Bowles & Wyer’s team of expert landscape architects, designers, builders, horticulturists and gardeners, who worked closely with the hospital’s garden, estates and facilities teams to turn the ambitious plans into reality! Following the new design created in two weeks, followed by three and a half weeks of construction, the garden was completed and officially opened in time for the end of the second 2020 lockdown, just in time for Christmas.
The project is one of many made possible thanks to grants to hospital charities from NHS Charities Together, whose most famous fundraiser - Captain Tom - raised over £30 million earlier in 2020 doing laps of his own garden.
Separately, following the success of the Wellbeing Hubs created for staff in the hospital, planning is under way to convert the area at the back of the Ingredients restaurant at St George’s, currently used to store medical equipment and supplies, into another new Wellbeing Hub for staff.
Both projects are designed to provide patients and staff with a quiet and relaxing place away from the hustle and bustle of hospital life.
Work on the Atkinson Morley Wing garden started in October 2020, when TV’s Dr Hilary Jones visited and talked to staff about the impact of Covid-19 on the Trust’s services, and the importance of staff health and wellbeing, particularly given the demands of recent months.
Amerjit Chohan, Chief Executive of St George’s Hospital Charity, said: “We are really delighted to support the Trust with this fantastic project. Making the lives of staff and patients that little bit easier is a big part of what we are trying to do, so we are really excited to be a part of this.”
John Greco, Head Gardener at St George’s Hospital said: “The staff at St George’s love the grounds here and this is now an amazing new outdoor space where they can refresh and regroup.
It was great to see the concept plan that myself and the Trust had created, be brought to life in the design by Bowles and Wyer. The creation of the hard surface area makes the space more accessible to all staff and by transforming parts of the lawn into gardens will really give it the principles such as colour, softness and nature that an inviting wellbeing garden needs, to be successful. The team has been excited to contribute in the garden with the planting plan and installation. We’re looking forward to staff and patients enjoying the new space.”
John Wyer, Chief Executive at Bowles and Wyer said: “We are really pleased to have been given the opportunity by St George’s to be involved in this project. Our purpose as a business is to enhance lives and landscapes and this scheme goes to the heart of that. Hospitals are all about improving people’s health and wellbeing and we want to demonstrate the really important role that landscape can play in that. Above all, we want people to feel they are in a garden – to take a deep breath, relax, and to feel some interaction with the natural world.”
This project would not have been possible without the hospital team, designers, construction team and suppliers who have all been incredibly generous during these uncertain times in giving discounts, donations and support in getting construction underway on budget and on time. Special thanks go to: Palmstead Nurseries, Torc Pots, Charles Wilson Engineers, InTurf, Deepdale Trees, Bourne Amenity, Soil & Stone, APPS Grabs, GravelTech, RoundWood and AHS Ltd for their support for this worthy cause.