Thanks to our charity, a transformative £200,000 grant has been secured to overhaul 10,000 square metres of unused outdoor space at Parkview, our hospital’s inpatient mental health unit. 

Parkview cares for critically-ill adolescents and young people struggling with a mental illness. The much-needed investment will create a therapeutic green space, including a sensory garden and features, which will aid in combatting stress and anxiety, a grassed area, an existing woodland, areas for outside therapy, and a dedicated staff area. 

The investment comes following a successful bid to NHS Charities Together, which launched a new ‘Greener Communities Fund’ with environmental charity Hubbub funded by proceeds from the Starbucks five pence cup charge which has been in place since 2018.  

Patients at the 34-bed unit have repeatedly asked for a better outdoor space as the current space is limited, unsafe and largely inaccessible. Once complete, they will have a dedicated space to be supported and engage in recreational, education and physical activities. 

The use of green social prescribing is on the rise, with engaging nature-based interventions proven to improve a person’s mental health. 

The new space has been carefully and meticulously designed to become an integral component of a patient’s clinical care. Therapy sessions will be able to take place outside while walking, which has been shown to increase connectivity and overall engagement in care and patients will also be taught and encouraged to use nature and green spaces as coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety, depression and a variety of sensory needs. 

Totally transforming the space means patients and families, including, for the first-time, family pets, will be encouraged to meet outdoors, where they can play and have more normalised family interactions. The current meeting spaces within the hospital can feel quite clinical and often lack privacy. Family engagement in a more positive space will not only support the patient while they are at Parkview, but also ease their transition back home. 

As part of the works, pathways will be cleared and made safe throughout the existing woodland and surrounding area, a variety of zones will be created within the grounds to support sensory needs, physical activity and group gatherings. This will include the building of seating areas, and other engaging elements such as flower beds, bird boxes and insect hotels. 

Mark Brider, CEO of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Parkview often becomes a home away from home for our young people, with many residing in our mental health unit for long periods of time. 

“Recent investment has made the inside of the building feel more friendly and less clinical, but the outside space is currently limited and does not provide a positive experience. We’re delighted to have received this transformational grant of £200,000 from NHS Charities Together, Hubbub and Starbucks to create a much-needed therapeutic green space our patients deserve.” 

The total project cost is £300,000. In addition to the £200,000 grant from NHS Charities Together a further £75,000 is being provided by our charity, together with a £25,000 gift in kind from Vital Services. 

Work is set to begin this month (May) and will be completed in August.