Captain Sir Tom's legacy creates 'hidden oasis' for ambulance staff

Josie Crook, garden designer, Carl Storey, ambulance care assistant, Lisa Gill, paramedic, and Kathy

Josie Crook, garden designer, Carl Storey, ambulance care assistant, Lisa Gill, paramedic, and Kathy Chaplin at Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

An unused corner of a Norwich ambulance station has been transformed into a peaceful garden for staff with money raised by the late Captain Sir Tom Moore. 

The East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) received a £2,000 grant from NHS Charities Together, the beneficiary of the 100-year-old fundraiser, to design the garden at its Longwater base. 

The project was led by Lisa Gill, senior paramedic and wellbeing ambassador, whose vision was brought to life by a team of volunteers including husband Bob and her garden designer daughter Josie. 

Lisa Gill, paramedic, being handed a thank you gift by Steve Hill, learning operations manager, for

Lisa Gill, paramedic, being handed a thank you gift by Steve Hill, learning operations manager, for all her hard work in getting Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden ready for staff and volunteers. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

It took three weeks of "graft" by the team to put in plants, upcycle benches, lay down the patio and put together the summer house, to provide a space for staff to sit and feel closer to nature at work.

Mrs Gill said: "The last 18 months have been the most demanding many of us have ever faced, and that demand doesn’t appear to be easing with the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

"Staff wellbeing is critical to patient care so alongside being a paramedic, I’ve always got my ‘wellbeing ambassador’ hat on and looking for practical ways in which I can support my colleagues.

Neville Hounsome, non-exectuive director and chair of the EEAST charitable funds committee, cutting

Neville Hounsome, non-exectuive director and chair of the EEAST charitable funds committee, cutting the ribbon at Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

"I’m extremely grateful to our charity fund and Sir Captain Tom Moore for giving us the opportunity to turn an idea into a creative and calming space which will have an immediate impact on staff well-being. For me personally, the garden feels like a hidden oasis and once you sit down and look around, you can’t help but feel more relaxed. I hope it makes other staff feel the same way."

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The garden was created through plant donations from Peter Beales Roses, Attleborough and Woodgate Nursery, Aylsham. The Range at Longwater, Norwich, donated a garden hose.

Norwich graffiti Knapple has designed an art mural in the wildflowers. 

It is the first EEAST project to be completed to enhance outdoor spaces at its stations for staff and volunteers.

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Dani

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Neville Hounsome, non-executive director and chair of the EEAST charitable funds committee, said: "I am delighted that the charities committee were able to use funds to support our local team in developing this garden.

"The last 18 months have been extraordinarily tough for our staff and the public we serve. Having time and space to reflect is more important now than ever. “

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Dani

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Dani

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Dani

Longwater Depot Wellbeing Garden, a brand new space for staff and volunteers to relax. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden


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