Scots hospital becomes first in country to receive environmental award for green spaces

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A SCOTS hospital has become the first in the country to receive an internationally recognized environmental award for green spaces.

The Royal Edinburgh Hospital’s green spaces have been commended with the Green Flag Award, bestowed by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Providing space for nature has been an important consideration throughout the history of the hospital, which was established over 200 years ago.

Royal Edinburgh Hospital receives Green Flag Award for greenspace - Environment News
Royal Edinburgh Hospital is the first hospital in Scotland to receive the Green Flag Award.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

Its parks are available for exercise or as a safe play area, whilst also helping to improve mental wellbeing, which has been especially important during the pandemic.

Outdoor activities are also run within these areas, forming a key part in the recovery process for patients.

Investment in managing the spaces from the Edinburgh Lothian Health Foundation (ELHF) and Nature Scot is ensuring that the grounds are well-kept for the hospital community.

Ian Mackenzie, Green Health Programme Manager at ELHF said: “This is such a great achievement for the hospital to be recognised for its well-managed, natural spaces.

“They are a lifeline for our hospital community, and not only form a key part of people’s recovery, but have also become an essential asset for patients, staff, and the local community, particularly during recent lockdowns.

“This collaborative approach to continuing to evolve the space to meet current and future healthcare needs will ensure nature continues to be at the heart of the site now and for years to come.”

Tracey Mckigen, Services Director for the Royal Edinburgh Hospital echoed these comments and added: “I’m really delighted that our hospital has received this award recognising the work that goes into looking after our beautiful greenspaces.”

She continued: “The recognition could not have been achieved without the support and contribution of the whole hospital community, so I would like to thank everyone involved for their ongoing hard work to support our natural areas.”

Providing acute psychiatric and mental health services, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital’s specialisms include centre for treating eating disorders, alcohol problems and young people’s mental health.

The site’s greenspaces are managed by NHS Lothian Grounds and Gardens teams, supported by third sector organisations and patient volunteers.