Going to A&E with any illness is stressful but its a special challenge for those with MH difficulties. A new A&E unit at CX is now complete and it was the idea of the Big Room Team to transform an empty courtyard space directly across from the waiting area and assessment rooms.
We have already carried out a risk assessment and surveys of staff and patients to gather ideas, inspiration and challenges for using the space. We were especially interested to hear patients' needs when they are under stress. One patient commented that she just wanted a place of rest and calm.....she felt so tired.
A permanent garden will require a full design and some structural changes to the building to meet the requirements on our risk assessment. The POPUP garden will provide an interim healing space, start things off and help us launch our APPEAL. It will be easy and quick to set up, easy to work around while we are designing and building, easy to break down or incorporate into the permanent space.
What we'll deliver:
- Create a POPUP garden design
- Work with existing site to create a safe and aesthetic environment
- Install and fill raised beds
- Plant a variety of seasonal sensual, colourful and aesthetic plants according to the garden design
- Hold a Virtual Opening and Launch Event
- Begin design and fundraising for the permanent HEALING GARDEN
Why it's a great idea:
The Courtyard POPUP Garden (we haven’t named it formally yet!) will transform an empty courtyard into a tranquil healing space in a busy A&E. More than 1700 people came through A&E last year year on a mental health admission. These are the people who will benefit MOST from the transformation of the courtyard space. However, along with that one person, there are many people affected. The family or friends who may be accompanying them, the staff members who are aiding and assessing their needs, the police or social services who are involved and the staff or carers who will be with them for the onward journey—these are all the people who will benefit. ALREADY we see, with just a few up-cycled planters and plants, that the green energy injected into the space CREATES a whole different feeling. THE STAFF WHO HAVE BEEN IN THE COURTYARD HAVE BEEN AMAZED AT THE TRANSFORMATION.
The POPUP Garden will allow us to transform the space while creating the design and working on the APPEAL.
Steps to get it done:
- Clear space
- Design garden
- Build garden and storage
- Infill with compost and garden materials
- Plant Garden
- Begin Design and Build Planning for Permanent Garden
- Launch Event (may be virtual)
The A&E Mental Health Department Big Room Team led by consultant Dr Barbara Cleaver is an important channel for innovation and problem solving. The Big Room came up with the idea for using the courtyard space after the new A&E unit was completed but was put on hold during the COVID crisis. Now, community partners Assael Architecture, a local firm with special interest in mental health, HCGA and Soup4Lunch are joining together to make the Big Room Idea a REALITY.
The new mental health assessment area has been designed to be calming and user friendly, while the new decoration, wall art and murals add a much more gentle feel to the busy A&E hub. Using the courtyard as an extension of the new design makes perfect sense and the the Team are keen to bring it to life. Creating the POPUP garden will fill an immediate need in changing the space.
A new staff garden has been created in a nearby space and a Stroke & Dementia garden was created on the south side of the hospital in 2018.