Greener Communities Fund to support ‘Green Up’ at West Middlesex University Hospital

CW+ has been awarded a grant of £165,795 to support ‘Green Up’, a project that aims to expand access to and awareness of nature at West Middlesex University Hospital. The grant is part of a total of nearly £1.2m that has been allocated to create and improve green spaces across the UK, thanks to a new Greener Communities Fund from environmental charity Hubbub and NHS Charities Together, funded by proceeds from the Starbucks 5p cup charge.

‘Green Up’ highlights CW+ and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s commitment to the integration of biophilic design, engagement with and access to green spaces, and green learning within minutes of clinical care. The project will provide a nature trail and co-designed green spaces at West Middlesex University Hospital, and digital greenscapes at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, using interactive and immersive technologies to connect patients and staff confined to clinical areas with nature. Green workshops will also run at both hospital sites to raise awareness of the importance and value of nature.

Ultimately, ‘Green Up’ aims to enhance the quality of care, encourage faster recovery and improve overall health outcomes for patients, specifically those with long-term conditions including HIV and those with or at risk of heart and circulatory disease and diabetes, along with intensive care and paediatric patients. It will also strive to improve the working environment for staff, both physically and mentally.

CW+ is one of 10 chosen NHS charities that will be supported to improve the health and wellbeing of the public, including NHS staff. The selected projects all demonstrate clear social and/or health benefits, such as improved mental health, reduced social isolation and access to healthy diets, as well as a positive impact on the local environment. Each will create or improve community spaces and increase access to nature for people who have had limited access to green spaces, such as hospital patients and visitors, people living in urban communities or specific community groups.

Sheena Basnayake, Hospital Director & Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We are incredibly grateful to receive a grant from the Greener Communities Fund to support our ‘Green Up’ project. The project will benefit our entire hospital community, with a focus on West Mid, where there is limited access to nature for our patients, staff and relatives. There are many restorative properties of being exposed to nature, and ‘Green Up’ will aid the recovery and improve the health and wellbeing of our patients and staff. The support from the Greener Communities Fund will make a huge difference. We are delighted that the grant panel from NHS Charities Together, Hubbub and Starbucks selected our project for funding.’

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said: ‘During the pandemic it became abundantly clear how important green spaces are for our health and wellbeing. There is sadly, however, significant inequality in access to these spaces, which is why we’re so pleased to be working with Starbucks and Hubbub on this new fund.

‘As a charity caring for the NHS, one of our main objectives is to help improve the health of our nation, and in turn reduce the pressure on overstretched NHS services. Working with CW+, we look forward to seeing the impact this funding makes for NHS staff, patients and the community at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.’

The Greener Communities Fund is the latest initiative as part of the ongoing support for Hubbub from the Starbucks 5p paper cup charge, which has been in place since 2018.