Boost your health in the hospital gardens

Volunteers growing vegetables at Cleland Hospital. Pic: Clydesdale Community Initiatives
Volunteers growing vegetables at Cleland Hospital. Pic: Clydesdale Community Initiatives

Boost your health by joining the ranks of volunteers growing fruit, vegetables and flowers in the grounds of four Lanarkshire hospitals.

The volunteer groups have been set up at Kirklands in Bothwell, Cleland, Coathill and Douglas (Lady Home) as part of the Lanarkshire NHS Green Health Project.

It recently joined forces with the Clydesdale Food Network which supplies locally grown produce to the Clydesdale Food Bank as well as holding weekly healthy eating sessions at Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) Community Kitchen.

The project is led by Scottish Natural Heritage and supported by Forestry Commission Scotland, NHS, Transport Scotland, Get Outdoors Lanarkshire and Clydesdale Community Initiatives.

CCI sessional worker Laura Gilchrist said: “This project has been running at the NHS Lanarkshire with great success and are open to all.

“Being outdoors encourages people to be more active and to connect with nature. This helps build peoples’ confidence to try new things and reduces isolation.”

Activities at each hospital site see volunteers growing food, learning new horticultural skills, planting fruit trees and improving each site for people and biodiversity.

At Kirklands new planters/benches were filled with soil and planted with some colourful winter bedding and bulbs.

NHS participants have been cooking with their vegetables as well as contributing to the food bank, while they have also cleared and tidied the therapy garden at Kyle Park in Blantyre.

Future plans include building two willow sculptures (a highland cow and stag), making a planter seating, creating an orchard and two courtyards.

At Cleland volunteers have put the garden to bed for the winter with lots of clearing, weeding, leaf raking as well as bulb planting.

Inpatients will be making Christmas wreaths from willow.

To find out more about volunteering with the hospital groups, email helen@cciweb.org.uk or phone 01555 664211.