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New NHS Rainbow Garden brings hope to Glasgow hospital community

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

A stunning new Rainbow Garden that brought together hospital staff and the wider community during the height of the pandemic, has been unveiled at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The project was the brainchild of John McParland who works as an electrical engineer for SP Energy Networks and whose wife, Karen, is a charge nurse working within ICU at the GRI.

John said: “We wanted to do something to lift everyone’s spirit and show support for the NHS. During the height of the pandemic, I know that ICU in particular was hit very hard and the incredible ICU nurses came in off dayshifts and nightshifts to help paint the fence with their kids and partners. It’s unbelievable, considering what they were dealing with.”

SP Energy Networks donated an environmental fence, which was painted with rainbow colours to provide a private outdoor space on the busy Alexandra Parade, allowing patients to connect with loved ones and providing a calm environment for staff to enjoy a break away from the pressures of the hospital.

Karen said: “The space was extremely drab and tired looking – that has all changed with the privacy fence, paint makeover and new flowers and plants. The project really gathered pace after the first wave of COVID had hit. We were braced for the second wave and people needed someone different to talk about and to focus on.

“In terms of morale it has been incredible, it had really connected everyone at GRI. So many different departments, areas of expertise and all levels of management and grades of staff got involved.

“The GRI has incredible people and a very rich history in its contribution to the city and medicine over hundreds of years.”

Karen is keen to thank NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde management, estates staff, the Friends of Glasgow Royal Infirmary charity, Friends of Glasgow Botanic Society who provided plants, SP Energy Networks for their contribution and support and, not least, that of her husband, John.

The results are already being enjoyed by patients, visitors and hospital staff.

Karen added: “It’s our hospital and the Rainbow Garden makes it a little brighter and better for everyone after what’s been a really challenging 18 months. It’s a space that brings a smile to your face and that’s exactly what’s needed.”


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Last Updated: 11 August 2021