Hospital garden transformed into haven for staff

Staff can use the garden to relax and talk about their emotions during the pandemic.

Staff can use the garden to relax and talk about their emotions during the pandemic. - Credit: Archant

A courtyard garden at Weston General Hospital has been transformed into a sanctuary to enable staff to unwind during the pandemic.

Pauline White, clinical site manager at the hospital, wanted to provide a place for tired, stressed and frightened staff to relax and talk about their emotions.

Pauline co-ordinated the project which involved planting new flower beds, installing pots and outdoor furniture and also adding a statue of an angel in remembrance of the challenging times staff have faced.

The newly named Rainbow Garden was officially opened on the 72nd anniversary of the NHS, on JUly 5, to thank staff at the hospital for their hard work and dedication.

Pauline said: “Working as a clinical site manager at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I spoke to many staff who were finding it a very stressful, tiring and frightening time.

“Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) means they are hot as well as feeling distanced from their patients.

“I thought about providing a nice, private and tranquil place outside, in the fresh air, where staff could relax and talk about the range of emotions they were experiencing.

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“The idea of calling it the Rainbow Garden was in recognition of our fight against coronavirus. As word got around, people loved the idea and started to donate items for the garden such as benches, the angel statue, plant pots, a rainbow sign and solar lights, all from staff, members of the public, the Macmillan Centre and the hospital’s League of Friends.

“Fighting Covid-19 has been a challenging time for everyone. I hope the garden will be a place all staff feel they can go whenever they need some quiet time to relax or talk about how they feel.”

Staff would like to thank Winnie’s Bakery who donated a birthday cake, sausage rolls and pasties to mark the celebration.

Juliet Neilson, head of nursing and assistant chief nurse at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Everyone at the hospital can benefit from the Rainbow Garden, being able to rest and enjoy the comfortable outside space.

“Opening the Rainbow Garden for the 72nd anniversary of the NHS is fantastic and there has never been a more important time to provide a peaceful place for all our NHS workers.

“This is a really practical way of saying thank you and showing support for the amazing work undertaken by NHS staff at Weston General Hospital.”