The Willoughby Road Allotments group are opening Nature’s Happy Space on Monday 25 October at 11am. Local councillor Yvonne Stephens will be doing the honours of declaring this space designed and made for staff and patients at the hospital, as well as other local community groups, officially open.
Gerry Ladds, Allotment Chair, had the idea to turn an unused area of allotment into a haven for staff after talking to many staff members who took a cut through to reach the hospital during lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The previously disused land is nestled away in a quiet corner of the allotments and has been transformed into an area full of flowers and wildlife.
The area currently is planted with flowers and shrubs that will give all season colour as well as a number of trees. Benches have been painted by staff and an old shed has been given a new lease of life. Further funding will bring electricity to the area– so people can have a cup of tea whilst they enjoy the area. The allotment group also have plans to make the area fully accessible through grant funding.
Gerry said: “During lockdown I was working on the allotment for 12 or more hours a day and that gave me the opportunity to meet a number of doctors and nurses who were walking to work during the height of the pandemic. We already run a number of initiatives and support community groups such as foodbank donations and sessions with the hospital nursery group and I really wanted to do something to support and say thank you to our NHS. From this the idea for Nature’s Happy Space (NHS) was born and then became a reality.”
Andrew Morgan, Chief Executive for United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said; “We are delighted that the allotments group have created this amazing space that staff can enjoy. Throughout the pandemic, our staff have worked tirelessly to look after people within their local communities and it is hugely welcome when our communities give something back to us. This space will give staff some much needed respite and it is great that other local community groups will also be able to benefit from the space.”