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Posted on Nov 18 2021 by Fiona Bailey

Green fingered staff from St Andrew’s hospital in Essex have won a top Health Service Journal (HSJ) award for a sustainability project run in partnership with patients. 

The Growing Spaces to Grow project, led by patients and the hospital’s Horticulture Specialist Graham Maynard, picked up  the Environmental Sustainability Award, having been shortlisted from more than 1,000 entries.

In a tweet posted on the evening it said that judges had been "blown away" by the project which was "entirely centred on delivering better outcomes for the patients".

The awards ceremony took place on Thursday, November 18 at Evolution in London. 

The prestigious awards programme aims to highlight projects which have a demonstrable environmental impact, while offering benefits to both staff and patients.

The project, located at the hospital site in North Benfleet, is a green space which was created from recycled materials and features a green gym, polytunnel, wood store and raised flower beds.

It has a low-carbon footprint and has made use of donations from local charities and recycling organisations from within the local area. In addition, some of the planters were made from light fittings and the bike shed was constructed using recycled plywood board.

 Annymn Adams, the Lead Occupational Therapist, and a vital part of the Growing Spaces to Grow project, said: "We started this project to help our patients build confidence and achieve qualifications, while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Never in our wildest of dreams did we expect to win an award for this. 

“I’m proud to say that over the past three years we’ve transformed the green space into a sustainable garden and therapeutic space. Around 80 per cent of our resources were used from recycled materials which were all sourced within a 15 mile radius and we used donated water butts to harvest rain water.

“The project has been a lot of hard work, but been extremely rewarding and we’re all thrilled to have won this award."