Hospital secures charity funding to transform outdoor space

Posted: 20/06/22

A Morpeth hospital has secured charity funding to transform an underused outdoor space into a peaceful garden.

St George’s Park, part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), will benefit from the Trust’s charity, The SHINE Fund to help service user and staff wellbeing.

The new area will boast space for growing flowers and vegetables, sitting and exercising, as well as a skills shed. The garden will be mainly for service users in an inpatient setting but is also designed to be beneficial for staff.

Jon Robson, Specialist Occupational Therapist and Vocational Lead, has been leading on the project. He said: “We want to make the area accessible for everyone and a comfortable, relaxing place to be.

“Some of our service users may not have leave and don’t have the opportunity to go further than the site, so the garden will serve as a safe, enclosed space.”

The garden will be used for activity and educational groups, as well as exercise therapy.

A combination of staff and service users will be transforming the garden. Work has begun to prepare the ground, with hopes for it to be completed in the summer.

“It’s incredibly important to have a safe, peaceful outdoor space,” Jon added.

“An acute ward can sometimes be a loud and distressing environment and the Occupational Therapy peace garden is designed to promote wellbeing and recovery. The garden will provide service users and staff alike with an opportunity to take a break and spend time away from the ward environment.

“We look at ways we can support people through meaningful activities to promote recovery. Having this extra space will enable us to maximise and maintain service users’ skills and abilities.

“We couldn’t have done it without The SHINE Fund. The money has allowed us to bring something we’ve wanted to do for a long time into fruition.”

The SHINE Fund makes a huge difference to the experience of people who are cared for in our hospital sites across the region. It provides the little extras that make a big difference to a person’s wellbeing and recovery. It has supported patients with everything from horse riding outings and gardening tools to day trips and music equipment.

Find out more about The SHINE Fund here.

CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.