Ground Control have transformed the gardens and outdoor spaces at one of England’s largest NHS trusts as a way of thanking staff and commemorating all those who tragically lost their lives to Covid-19.

The week-long project at Newham Hospital involved the revamping of new courtyard gardens and revitalising outside spaces into retreats and places of comfort for staff, patients and visitors

With a goal of complementing 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to users, the work involved substantial pruning, planting a variety of new plants, removal and replacement of outdated furniture and installing new planters and trellises.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. The project is a way of expressing its thanks to all NHS staff caring for patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We utilised our 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.

Adam Sewell-Jones, Interim Chief Executive at Newham Hospital said: 

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. 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,” said 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,” said 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,” said 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.

Chris Bawtree, Construction Project Manager at Ground Control said

There’s never been a more important time to provide a peaceful retreat for front line workers, patients and their friends & family. 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.

Serving a population of more than 2.5 million people, Barts Health NHS Trust is one of the largest NHS trusts in the UK and provides care to some of the most deprived London boroughs including Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Newham.

With London being the worst-hit region of the country, the Coronavirus has had a significant impact on every one of its five hospitals.