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Staff wellbeing courtyard opens at County Hospital thanks to UHNM Charity

A previously underutilised courtyard at County Hospital has been given a new lease of life thanks to UHNM Charity and the generosity of local businesses.

Staff looking for a break from the demands of busy day at the hospital are now able to enjoy their lunch, socialise or simply relax in the new quiet and tranquil area.

The ‘NHS 75 Staff Garden’ features new picnic benches made from 100% recycled material which were funded by UHNM Charity, water features, and raised beds filled with roses and other flowering plants donated by local contractors.

 The courtyard’s conservatory has also been refurbished for staff to enjoy.

The courtyard was opened today to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

Penny Parkinson, Deputy Head of Soft Facilities Management at UHNM said: “This once tired and uninviting space now feels like a wonderful staff retreat thanks the amazing work of our Estates team, the support of UHNM Charity and generosity of our contractors."

"The idea came about during planning for the nationally-recognised Estates and Facilities Celebration Day as well as the NHS 75th anniversary, as many of our non-clinical and clinical teams at County do not have a staff room and a place to decompress during a pressured day."

"Steve Bagnall, Estates Operations Manager for County and I identified that we have a number of fabulous courtyards that are currently unused at County. We chose the courtyard with the Conservatory to support an all year round location, whatever the weather, for the Staff at County."

"To achieve the garden, Steve took the lead on arranging donations and work of both our contractors and Estates team, bringing to life the design we have today. With the outdoor seating, refurbished conservatory, addition of some fabulous planting, water features and a lot of planning and organising, we now have a welcoming and calming space that can be enjoyed all year round.”

“Our UHNM contractors have been so generous funding and installing plants including roses, lavender and a cherry tree, which will attract wildlife to the courtyard. We’ve also reused and repurposed a lot of the material, with the theme of the courtyard being sustainable living.”

Finishing touches to the courtyard will include a pergola for the seating area, decorative stones and new furniture in the conservatory.

Dave Ruscoe, Deputy Director of Estates Facilities and PFI said: “Through the County Estates and Facilities team’s own initiative and hard work, they’ve sought investment and donations from local contractors and even worked on the courtyard out of hours to deliver a fantastic facility and asset to County Hospital that can be used for staff gatherings and breaks that will have a positive impact on wellbeing at the hospital.”

Additional funding for the courtyard was provided by UHNM’s Staff Good Causes fund.

Steve Rushton, Head of UHNM Charity added: “I am delighted that UHNM Charity has been able to help fund the opening of this fantastic new facility for our staff who continue to work tirelessly to provide the best possible care for our patients at County Hospital. The courtyard will provide our staff with the opportunity to spend time, rest and recharge in a peaceful and tranquil environment, away from their normal clinical setting.”

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