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Help us create a community eco-garden to support the wellbeing of our staff, patients and the wider community

There are lots of ways in which spending time in nature can be positive for our mental health and wellbeing. After living through the COVID pandemic we believe it is now more important than ever for everyone at the RUH to enjoy the remarkable health benefits of connecting with nature.

For our hospital colleagues who have been through a really demanding time since the pandemic and shown resilience, strength and spirit, now is the time to give them the support they need to recover. A dedicated outdoor space, such as an eco-garden will hugely benefit their wellbeing so they can take time-out from the pressures of a busy hospital and connect to the environment around us, helping improve their mental health.

Interacting with nature can give you an extra boost, improve your mood and reduce stress. To feel these benefits it is our ambition to create an eco-garden on site at the RUH.

Initial artist illustrations

“Spending time in nature is one of the important ways in which we can activate the emotional part of our brain that is responsible for calming and soothing us. This is not only important in itself as it releases oxytocin, a ‘feel good’ hormone, but it also has a regulatory effect on other parts of the brain such as our ‘threat’ and ‘drive’ systems. These systems help us respond in difficult or stressful situations and are linked with planning and taking action, however if we spend too much time on these types of activities, we become exhausted and depleted.

“Spending time in nature, taking time to pause and notice the beauty of the natural world, perhaps focussing on breathing in and out, can really help to adjust our brain chemistry in a way that supports our general health and wellbeing.”

Sarah Shatwell, Head of Staff Counselling & EAP Manager

As well as the eco-garden being a place for staff, patients and visitors to sit and reflect in a therapeutic space it will also be a place where nature can thrive and food can be grown. We want to give people the opportunity to grow their own food and share it with the RUH community, as there is good evidence that people who spend time gardening experience a wide range of positive results including improvements in mood, quality of life and feelings of community.

“Many people desire to live more sustainably, but there is little opportunity to put this into practice while at work at the RUH. The RUH Community Eco Garden is an opportunity for us to work together to develop a self-sustaining edible eco-system and make it a place where people can spend time in nature and benefit from the sense of well-being this offers.”

Nickie Jakeman, ED Consultant and eco-garden Project Lead

The garden will be surrounded by trees, bushes and shrubbery on all sides, there will be secluded green areas, accessible raised plant beds to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers and enchanting pathways leading to the existing pond and seating area.

To ensure everyone can easily access this wonderful space the eco-garden will be created in the courtyard area near to the entrance of the hospital’s Lansdown restaurant and it will be designed in three stages.

How you can get involved and support this Special Appeal

There are many ways people can support The Forever Friends Appeal:

Make a one off gift or make a regular donation online today
Take part in one of our fundraising events
Fundraise at your place of work
Join one of our Community Fundraising Groups or set one up
Leave a gift in your Will

For further information about the the Eco Garden or our current priorities please get in touch on 01225 825691 or forever.friends@nhs.net