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Staff at Weston General Hospital create tranquil garden

Last updated: 07/07/2020

A courtyard garden at Weston General Hospital has been transformed into an area of tranquillity for staff at the hospital to relax and unwind. The newly named Rainbow Garden was officially opened by colleagues on the weekend of the 72nd anniversary of the NHS; celebrating the hard work and dedication of staff at the hospital as well as 72 years of the National Health Service.

The project involved refreshing the existing planting, planting of new flower beds and the installation of new pots and outdoor furniture. Within the garden is a new statue of an angel in remembrance of the challenging times we have experienced.

Pauline White, a clinical site manager at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), and based at Weston General Hospital, co-ordinated the month-long project to say thank you to 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 tranquil place outside, in the fresh air, where staff could relax and talk about the range of emotions they were experiencing. On reflection, looking out of the window from where my office is located, it dawned on me that the space I looked out onto was this place.

“I started to make plans and posted my intentions to the staff. With the help of some colleagues, we made a start by clearing the courtyard and getting it to a point where it could be used by staff. 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.

“We decided to open the garden on the NHS anniversary weekend to coincide with the nationwide remembrance of those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

“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.”Juliet Neilson, head of nursing and assistant chief nurse at UHBW, 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. Pauline has been absolutely integral in the redevelopment of the garden and she has worked tirelessly for the benefit of her colleagues. 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.”

Everyone at Weston General Hospital would like to thank Winnie’s Bakery. To help celebrate the anniversary of the health service and the opening of the staff garden, Winnie’s provided a big birthday cake, boxes of sausage rolls, pasties as well as vegan-friendly tasty treats. Winnie’s regularly supports the hospital with food donations for our hardworking staff, including bacon sandwiches and mince pies on Christmas Day each year, and their kindness throughout the recent month has been very much appreciated.