The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The Natural Health Service

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During National Gardening Week (26 April - 2 May) members of staff shared the many ways how gardening has helped reduce stress and improve personal wellbeing during the pandemic. Here are their testimonials.
  • Kate Davies, Clerical Officer

    "I just love being outside, it clears my head and relaxes me. The kids get involved in every aspect so it’s really lovely."

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  • Esther Biesmans, Radiographer

    "From not knowing anything about gardening I have now planted hundreds of plants and lots more."

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  • Helen Shepherd, Radiotherapist

    "The benefits to me have been immense as I find it calming to be outside in the fresh air, at one with nature, but it is also great exercise."

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  • Sharon Fernandez, Research Radiographer

    "Gardening has been my saviour during lockdown. Any chance I had, I was outside potting."

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We recently joined forces with Harlow Carr Gardens to help hardworking LTHT staff re-energise through the restorative power of the 'Natural Health Service’.

IMG 6739 v2Several colleagues were invited to visit the gardens just before National Gardening Week in April and were given the opportunity to hear direct from the experts.

Lisa Grant, Chief Nurse at LTHT, said: “Our hardworking staff have emerged from perhaps the most testing time in the history of the NHS and it is crucial that everyone has time to reset and recover. We have made the health and wellbeing of our staff a top priority with a range of resources and initiatives across our hospitals.

She added: "Gardening has been shown to be a highly effective method of reducing stress levels and, with Spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to get back to the garden. We are so grateful to RHS Harlow Carr for this opportunity for our staff to learn direct from the experts.”

During the first lockdown, many people in the UK discovered the joy of gardening as a way of enjoying the outdoors without leaving home, with households planting 322 million more plants in 2020 than in 2019.

Staff at LTHT also found a new hobby in gardening, with many embracing wildflowers, homegrown vegetables and more. A study from the RHS and collaborating universities showed that simply adding a few plants in a bare front garden could reduce stress levels as effectively as eight weekly mindfulness sessions.

Watch Q&As with RHS experts on YouTube