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From hospital beds to flowerbeds

17 March 2015

Environment

The Earls Hall Junior School Green Team, made up of children aged 8-11, and children from the hospital’s Ladybird Nursery lent the Southend Hospital gardener, Tony Haggar, some helping green fingers recently, planting 900 bluebell bulbs in just 90 minutes.

It's part of the Bluebell Wood project which heralds the beginning of a programme to transform the Trust's green spaces into healing spaces; encouraging an enjoyment of nature, an awareness of the environment and seasons, and an active lifestyle.

Caroline Hang Hong, who is coordinating the project for the hospital, said: "Improving the quality of our green spaces, and involving volunteers in the process, will enrich the lives of patients, staff and the local community."

The bulbs were planted in a patch of recently cleared scrubland at the front of the hospital grounds to transform it into a sea of blue each spring for years to come and the school and nursery children couldn't wait to get stuck in.

Sharon Neal, a teacher from Earls Hall, in Westcliff, who attended with her pupils, commented: "The children were very motivated in planting the bulbs and are eager to see if the bulbs bloom this year. They realise that their handiwork today will bloom every year and in twenty years' time they might be saying to their children 'I helped to plant those bluebells' .Time spent at the hospital has also encouraged the children to create green spaces at school which will encourage wildlife."

The Bluebell Wood is the first of a number of projects intended to improve patient experience and health outcomes through improved green spaces. Other projects include a sensory garden for children and a trim trail. Funding is currently being sought for these projects.