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‘Fundraising campaign launched to create NZ’s first indoor hospital Healing Garden’

New Zealanders are being encouraged to get behind a public fundraising campaign, GIVE A BIT OF GREEN, to create the country’s first-ever large-scale, indoor hospital Healing Garden.

The greenspace will become the centrepiece of the new state-of-the-art hospital building under construction at North Shore Hospital, enhancing the wellbeing of thousands of patients, visitors, and healthcare workers from the wider Auckland region who will use the hospital every day.

Every dollar donated as part of Well Foundation’s GIVE A BIT OF GREEN campaign will be used to fill the heart of North Shore’s new hospital building, Tōtara Haumaru (under the shade of the Tōtara tree), with more than 500 plants to transform the 400 square metre central atrium into a restorative indoor Healing Garden.

Tim Edmonds, CEO of the Well Foundation says the project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the community to come together and help shape our future hospital environment.

“We know that being in a hospital can be a stressful experience, and hospitals are typically sterile, clinical environments, with limited access to nature. Yet international research shows that green spaces in hospitals not only encourage relaxation and reduce stress for patients, visitors and healthcare workers, but can also help speed up recovery and improve clinical outcomes.

“Well Foundation has worked with the new hospital team to design a stunning indoor Healing Garden that can be enjoyed not only by those able to spend time in the atrium, but by those in the wards overlooking it as well.

“This is only possible through the support of the community, and we are asking people to donate today so our family, friends and wider community can benefit for decades to come,” says Edmonds.

The Healing Garden will fill the central atrium of the four-storey hospital complex due to open in April 2024. The building will serve the wider Auckland region with eight state-of-the-art operating theatres, four new endoscopy suites and 150 in-patient beds across five medical and surgical wards.

Warkworth resident Robyn Redford is a passionate advocate for the Healing Garden, having experienced first-hand the need for such a space when her husband, the well known cricketer Lindsay Crocker, was confined to North Shore Hospital’s Renal Ward for the last three weeks of his life with pancreatic cancer.

“Lindsay spent his last 23 days in the confines of Ward 2, which was in stark contrast to the home he left with the large garden he loved. The windows on Ward 2 are mostly too high for a patient to look out of and the views indifferent if they could. The wonderful renal specialists who cared for Lindsay strongly recommended we take him outside in a wheelchair to get some fresh air and a touch of nature. However, with cold and windy conditions and no nature close by, this was a challenge,” says Robyn.

“Imagine if I was able to wheel Lindsay into the Healing Garden, safe, warm, dry and surrounded by nature. Without doubt, as a nature lover who spent his life enjoying the outdoors, Lindsay’s last days would have been enriched by such an experience.”

The Healing Garden will consist of a series of large scale organic shaped planters, up to 40 metres long, filled with lush living plants suited to thriving indoors. There will be over 20 different plant species, some reaching two metres tall, nestled into a beautiful living moss. People will be able to use the various seating options within the garden to rest and enjoy the space. The lower level wards will look out onto the garden, with the layout and large foliage providing privacy. Patients staying on upper levels will have a great view of the suspended sculptural lighting, whilst looking down onto the beautiful garden below. Significantly, the garden will feature a staff-only-space to provide hospital care teams a space away from clinical areas during their breaks.

The Well Foundation’s Tim Edmonds says public support is crucial to help make this incredible space come to life.

“We are aiming to raise the remaining $1 million of the total $2 million needed to fund the Healing Garden with every dollar raised during the GIVE A BIT OF GREEN campaign going directly to this project,” says Edmonds.

“By donating you will enhance the wellbeing of everyone who steps foot in our new hospital building and leave a lasting legacy that will positively change the hospital experience for generations to come.”

GIVE A BIT OF GREEN will kick off on Monday 30 October and people wanting to support it should visit www.giveabitofgreen.co.nz. One hundred percent of donations to the campaign will go towards the hospital Healing Garden project.


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