It’s good to be green!

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so the proverb goes… and new life is springing from the soil in our grounds here at St Hugh’s Hospital.

We have planted trees in our green spaces at Peaks Lane, Grimsby – not only to add interest to the landscape for visitors and staff, but also to do our bit towards being green on-site.

From the NHS to the Woodland Trust, many organisations are vocal about how important green spaces are to our health and mental wellbeing… no more so than in a hospital, where people sometimes arrive feeling anxious, and where others spend time recovering from procedures. Nature’s healing powers, says the Woodland Trust, are more important than ever following the pandemic and, it says, there is an ever-growing mountain of scientific evidence backing the health benefits of having access to green spaces.

Here at our hospital, we couldn’t agree more – and it has the added bonus of looking good, too.

Now patients looking out onto our lawned areas at the front and rear of the hospital, and near the entrance too, can admire clusters of cherry blossoms, pear trees, and apple trees – and the more green-fingered among them will also spot a tiny monkey puzzle tree… that might not be so tiny in a few years’ time!

The 15 trees were planted by Leigh Rawson, the grounds maintenance lead at Navigo, and his colleagues Ryan and Corey. Navigo, our neighbour in Peaks Lane, maintains our grounds for us, keeping them looking spick and span, and thriving, throughout the year.

Leigh said: “Having a nice and pleasant-looking place to spend time in is good for our wellbeing and that’s what the tree-planting here at St Hugh’s is about.

“We like to think that patients, looking out of their bedroom window, have something to take in and enjoy.

“It definitely makes the areas look different and breaks up the lawn areas, adding a bit of interest for the eye.

“It’s a double benefit – having something lovely to look at but also being able to appreciate nature.

“At this time of the year, it’s about grass cutting and maintenance, keeping everything neat and tidy. At the back end of the year, it’s about hedges and all the bits you don’t get to do while the grass grows.

“I do like summer, the early days when it’s all starting to sprout and it all of a sudden becomes lush and green. And then from September to about March, that’s where you need to be in a villa in Spain! Come back for the spring!”

The team was aided by Gary Allington, the hospital’s facilities manager and community officer, who organised the planting, and stores manager Jody Fenwick for part of the afternoon. Jody had the honour of planting the tiny monkey puzzle tree… see if you can spot it when you next pay us a visit!

Gary said: “This is all about sustainability and carbon zero targets, involving multiple organisations around North East Lincolnshire. It is also about planting trees for ecology and being green. We are happy to be doing our bit!”