The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

NHS and RHS join forces to promote green wellbeing

26 April 2021

LTHT staff get a dose of ‘Vitamin G’ as part of the Trust’s plan to focus on wellbeing and kindness following an incredibly tough year.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Harlow Carr Gardens have joined forces to help hardworking NHS staff re-energise through the restorative power of ‘Vitamin G’.

Georgie Duncan, ICU nurse, with RHS gardener Joe LofthouseAs part of the NHS Trust’s focus on reset and recovery following the decrease in Covid cases, LTHT is championing the importance of kindness, wellbeing, and self-care to ensure staff are rested, recovered, and ready to tackle the next big challenge.

This National Gardening Week (26 April – 2 May) LTHT and RHS Harlow Carr are helping NHS staff take time out to make the most of spending time in the garden with a raft of helpful tips and videos available at their fingertips. During the week, LTHT and RHS will also be running a competition offering several members of staff the chance to win tickets for a day out at Harlow Carr Gardens.

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. 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.”

LTHT staff get to grips with planting peas at RHS Harlow Carr.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.

As the UK has come to appreciate its gardens and green spaces more than ever over the last year, the RHS is encouraging the nation to celebrate the feel-good power of gardens for National Gardening Week. The focus is on finding easy ways to ‘Get Your Dose of Vitamin G’ by taking a few minutes each day to connect with nature.

“Vitamin G is ‘green’, and research has shown that getting a daily dose improves our sense of personal wellbeing,” explains RHS Director of Science Professor Alistair Griffiths. “Aim to bring green into your daily life as much as possible for maximum benefits. There are dozens of ways to connect with nature, and you don’t even need to have your own garden to get your Vitamin G.”