A major £320,000 landscaping project has today (Wednesday, October 23) been announced for the Gartnavel Hospitals’ campus by the Green Exercise Partnership (GEP).
Funding is provided between GEP and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s (NHSGGC) endowments fund which receives donations, grants and legacies to be used to benefit staff and patients for health related purposes that could not be funded by core NHS budgets.
Launching the first stage of this ambitious development was BBC Scotland - “River City” - actress Libby McArthur, who plays Gina Rossi, together with NHSGGC Chairman Andrew Robertson and Hugh McNish, health advisor at Forestry Commission Scotland.
The guests joined Mr Robertson to officially open “The Applefield Garden”, a raised bed area where Gartnavel Royal Hospital patients and staff will grow fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Children from the local Westbourne Nursery have also been allotted a raised bed to grow their own produce.
GEP is a national group made up of the Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and NHS Scotland, which has the aim of promoting greater use of the outdoors to improve quality of life.
The Gartnavel investment is the latest NHS project to be commissioned by GEP who aim to create at least one hospital green space initiative in each Scottish Health Board.
NHSGGC Chairman Andrew Robertson, said: “I am delighted to join with Libby and Hugh today to launch this project which is going to bring real benefits to our patients, staff and the surrounding community.”
Libby enthused about the therapeutic qualities of gardening and its mood-lifting powers for health and wellbeing:
"Gardening is the perfect symbol of a life of commitment. Each action, all the digging, raking, hoeing, planting and pruning confirms our investment.
“We are shaping it all for future splendour. We can never underestimate the miraculous power of gardening: it calls on tomorrow, it is eternally forward-looking, it invites plans and ambitions, creativity, and encourages us to revel in expectation."
The wider Gartnavel works will include growing areas for vegetables, plants and flowers, the refurbishment of a disused summer house for patients and staff, and the development of a circular, all-abilities path around the old part of the hospital.
Work begins on-site on October 28 and is due to be completed by February next year.
Hugh added: “This project will transform the hospital grounds into a beautiful, peaceful setting, providing a fantastic outdoor space for patients, staff and visitors, as well as the local community.
“The aim of creating these attractive surroundings is to encourage more people to make greater use of outdoor spaces and woodlands.
“We know from our experience on similar projects across Scotland that woodlands and other green spaces can significantly assist in patient recovery. We also hope that local people will use the grounds more as a space to exercise and relax.”
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]
Pic: NHSGGC Chairman, Andrew Robertson with BBC River City actress Libby McArthur at the garden with children from Westbourne Nursery