Staff from the RSPB have worked closely with staff and volunteers from the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (Royal Devon) for the last few years, supporting them with wonderful plans to go wild in their gardens and grounds.

The Royal Devon is custodian of many acres of greenspaces surrounding its clinical sites and staff at the Trust are keen to play their part in both helping nature and ensuring NHS sites are bright and welcoming for staff, patients, and visitors.

The RSPB has previously supported the Royal Devon at its Royal Devon & Exeter Wonford site with the creation of therapeutic gardens, including a bereavement garden and meadow planting.

Plans have now been put into action to work with the community hospital sites, starting with Okehampton Hospital.

The focus at the Okehampton site has been planning improvements to the large entrance roundabout, managing the overgrown flower beds at the front entrance, a pergola walk-through from the parking area, and a staff garden at the rear.

Following many months of planning, this week the RSPB worked with dedicated volunteers from the NHS property team, who all took part in three days of weeding, composting, and planting.

The teams have transformed the front entrance of the hospital and the staff garden with a host of new shrubs, trees, and bulbs for spring.

The Local Okehampton Men in Sheds group are also lending a hand by fixing bird boxes and a garden planter in the staff garden over the coming weeks.

Jane Taylor, RSPB green infrastructure champion, said: “It was such a fun three days – everyone pitched in together and the results speak for themselves.

“We have carefully selected plants which are nectar rich for the bees and have long flowering times for lots of colour and wow moments.

“Most importantly, we have tried to ensure there will be something flowering all year round, so even in the winter there will be plants for everyone to enjoy and brighten their day.”

A growing body of evidence indicates that individuals with a greater connection to nature experience improved mental wellbeing, greater vitality, and happiness, and are more satisfied with life.

Research also shows that increasing your connection with nature can positively impact a range of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and depression.

James Unwin, Senior Estates Manager for NHS Property Services (NHSPS) said: “We are so pleased to be able to volunteer our time and pay for this project with support from Bow Garden and Aquatic Centre, and we value the RSPB for their expert guidance. NHSPS hopes the green spaces now warmly welcome everyone who uses this hospital.”

James continued: “NHSPS is keen to do its bit for the planet – and, crucially, help create therapeutic and relaxing spaces for patients and staff to enjoy.”

Luke Mitchell, energy and sustainability manager at the Royal Devon, said: “It has been great to collaborate with NHSPS and RSPB on this fantastic green project. By working together, we have been able to positively impact biodiversity and wildlife, while creating an improved environment for patients.

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved and aim to continue making a difference across our community sites.”

For more tips and ideas on how to take action for nature visit: