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Groups dig in for new community garden at Wansbeck hospital

Tuesday, 28 July, 2015
Groups dig in for new community garden at Wansbeck hospital

A new community garden at Wansbeck General Hospital has been officially opened.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, cut the ribbon at the garden which has been developed over the last year by the trust in partnership with Groundwork NE & Cumbria, Northumbrian Water, Proctor and Gamble, voluntary and community groups, and local schools.

The low maintenance garden is for the recreational, educational and, where appropriate, therapeutic use by hospital staff, visitors, patients, community groups and other interested individuals and groups.

It includes raised beds of different heights planted with flowers and strawberries, mosaic paving showing different insects, animals and plants you might find in the garden, a willow arch, native wild flowers, a woodland walk, planted with fruit trees, a dry stone wall and a seating area.

Representatives from the partners and students from St Benedict’s Middle School in Ashington, and children from Kids 1st Nursery in the grounds of the hospital attended the opening.

Mr Mackey said: “As a trust, we’re committed to working with partners to support our communities and opening up opportunities for different groups and generations to come together.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project for all their hard work so far and it’s great to see so many people from several organisations here at the opening.

“The idea for a garden was first raised some years ago so it is fantastic that it has developed into a space for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to it being used by many more people in the future.”

Ian McMinn, non-executive director for the trust and chairman of the charitable funds committee which funded the project, said: “Coming to hospital can be a stressful time for patients and their relatives and the garden provides a pleasant environment for everyone to enjoy, as well as to explore.

“I’m delighted that our charitable funds have been able to help develop the community garden for everyone’s benefit.”

Kay Bradshaw, area manager for Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said: “We must thank all the groups and individuals, schools and businesses that, with their hard work, made this garden happen. This is just the start, the garden will grow and it’s there for everyone.”

A team from Northumbrian Water Group was involved in the garden as part of their commitment to ‘Just an Hour’, their employee volunteering programme which sees employees volunteering their time and skills to help organisations in the communities they serve.

The team, led by Richard Davison, distribution operations team leader, were involved early in the project with the heavy digging work and laying the paving which cuts through the garden.

Richard said: “We were delighted to be asked to be part of this project, it really makes a difference and gives something back to the communities we work with.”  

Students from King Edward VI High School in Morpeth have previously been involved in the garden however were unable to attend the opening.