Bart’s Health Trust, one of England’s largest NHS trusts, recently enlisted the landscaping and maintenance services of Ground Control to create tranquility gardens at Newham Hospital.
Gardens and outdoor spaces have been transformed at the London hospital as a as a way of thanking staff and commemorating all those who tragically lost their lives to Covid-19 at the hospital.
The week-long project involved the revitalising of new courtyard gardens and other outside spaces into retreats and places of comfort for staff, patients and visitors.
With a goal of complimenting the character of the existing gardens and softening the environment to provide a level of tranquility to users, the work involved substantial pruning, planting a variety of new plants, removal and replacement of outdated furniture and installing new planters and trellises.
Memorial plaques have also been added to gardens in memory of those who died during the pandemic.
Essex-based Ground Control utilised its design and installation expertise to upgrade the external spaces for staff, patients and visitors, providing them with a retreat and a place of comfort – and the result has already been a big hit with all the hospital’s staff.
“The replenished tranquility gardens will provide a much-needed space for visitors to reflect and remember those who sadly lost their lives to Covid-19,” says Adam Sewell-Jones, Interim Chief Executive at Newham Hospital. “I’d like to thank Ground Control and supporters for the work they have done to transform the gardens.”
“The therapeutic and restorative nature of hospital green spaces is widely evidenced and I believe the new tranquility gardens will go a long way in supporting the wellbeing of our staff, patients and visitors.”
“A challenge we’ve always had is keeping the courtyard to a standard with our limited resources,” explains Justin Pereira, Director Estates and Facilities, Newham Hospital. “So when the phone call came through, I grabbed it with both arms because I knew everybody would appreciate the open courtyards. Having a wonderful open space with nice, clean furniture, will lift morale. Sadly, we’ve had two colleagues pass away because of Covid-19 and the idea of a memorial came from their colleagues who want to remember them and have a place where they could go and quietly reflect.
“A few months ago this space was full of six-foot high weeds, the door was locked and it hadn’t been used for some time,” says Giuseppe Labriola, Associate Director of Midwifery and Nursing. “It’s been brought back to life and refurbished and now we have a perfect area for women to mobilise who are in the early stages of labour and for staff to use to grab a quick breath of fresh air. It’s been completely transformed and we’re really thankful for everyone who’s been working on the project.”
“From a public health point of view, we know that access to green space aids recovery, is good for health and makes you feel better,” explains Andrew Attfield, Associate, Director for Public Health at Barts Health NHS Trust. “The volunteers have clearly worked very hard – not just with their hours and their time, but with their hearts – to make this commitment to the NHS and to Newham Hospital.”
Ground Control’s original plan was to offer the garden to the Nightingale Hospital in East London – but with the hospital currently in standby mode, the decision was made to switch venue to another London-based hospital.
“There’s never been a more important time to provide a peaceful retreat for front line workers, patients and their friends and family,” says Chris Bawtree, Construction Project Manager at Ground Control. “This is a practical way of saying ‘thank you’ and showing our support for the amazing work undertaken by all NHS staff especially during the pandemic.”
Savills and Homebase were among the companies that partnered with Ground Control on the project to contribute to the creation of the garden upgrades at Newham Hospital.