Background & Objectives:
NHS hospital Hartismere – a provider of community and specialist clinical services to residents of Suffolk and Norfolk – in Eye, Suffolk needed a new social prescription garden to help those recovering at the centre to improve their health and wellbeing. So, they commissioned Groundwork to co-design and project manage the works.
This pilot concept was developed between Groundwork and NHS Property Services, and designed to bring back into use an unused wing of the Hartismere Hospital. The former Birthing Unit had been transformed into the Michael Burke Wellbeing Centre and the garden developed to support the social prescription activity run through the centre.
Groundwork’s landscape architects designed an accessible area with flowing, paths around growing areas with raised beds, sensory and seating area, and an outdoor gym. Clients can take in scents, and feel textures, as they move through the winding circular areas of the two axes of the garden with clear sightlines, smooth footpaths and step free access.
The garden provides multiple benefits; a place for social prescription activities for groups and individuals, a place to recharge the mind & body, growing areas for clients to grow produce that can be used in cooking projects, a social space with picnic benches, and therapeutic planting.
The design has also brought more biodiversity to the hospital site. The site originally had one tree within some grass, and was one of very few green spaces in the grounds, with much of it being car parking. The development of the garden now provides a diverse range of flowering plants which are a great resource for bees, insects, and other wildlife.