Boosting patient’s recovery with the healing power of nature will be even easier from today as the trust sets out how people will be supported to reap the benefits of the great outdoors.

The trust’s Green Spaces Framework, which sets out how patients and staff will continue to develop outdoor spaces and benefit from the therapeutic benefits of nature, was launched at a celebration event.

Attendees also learned about recent and ongoing projects include the creation of a peace and tranquillity garden at Abingdon Community Hospital, a garden and walking project at Sandford Ward at the Fulbrook Centre at Churchill Hospital, developing a wildflower meadow, therapeutic programme, nature walks and bee borders at the Warneford Meadow at the Warneford Hospital, as well as combining wildlife and recovery at Oxford Recovery College, part of Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership.

Associate Director of Psychological Services at Oxford Health Dr Jane Fossey led the development of the framework. She said: “The benefits of being in a natural setting are becoming widely recognised and I’m delighted that we are able to support people and promote their wellbeing in this way.
“Today is a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge and learn from one another about how we can support people and support the natural environment.”

The Green Spaces Framework evolved from a project to develop Warneford Meadow and a wildflower meadow at Warneford Hospital and was created by a steering group led by Dr Fossey and including colleagues from occupational therapy, community involvement, the trust’s art programme Artscape, Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership and estates and facilities. It is supported by the trust, Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership and Oxford Health Charity.

Rumi Mohideen is a healthcare assistant at the Warneford Hospital. He’s a real advocate of the healing powers of being outdoors and spends time with patients at the meadow and orchard.

He said: “Access to green space and activities is well documented and proven to reduce anxiety. I worked with a patient told me his anxiety left him as we dug new beds. He continued to water the plot and weed it independently through his recovery, arranged to have use of some of his mother’s garden after he was discharged and continues to garden and practice mindfulness after leaving hospital.

“Clearly, we all have a deep connection to nature and at the Warneford we are blessed with managed parkland, sports field, planted wildflowers, allotment with polytunnel as well an orchard, ancient grassland hedges, woodland and a brook which is a shared space with the local community. It is here that patients feed the birds, clear brush to create habitat, observe the wildlife and note changes.”