Revitalising green spaces at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre

Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood, on the outskirts of London, is starting work on a two-year programme to redesign several green spaces in the hospital grounds. The Centre, run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, historically specialized in TB and retains its original sanatorium building, though now occupied by offices. Its terraces and balconies, once used for fresh air treatment, overlook a large expanse of lawn, with a grove of mature trees nearby.

Current plans, drawn up with a landscape designer, include the creation of a green walking route around this area, inviting both patients and staff to enjoy the grounds. The Trust will also be replanting and refurbishing a sunken dell garden adjacent to its chemotherapy suite, including a new access ramp and exterior power-points for patients to receive treatment outdoors. Plans for 2020 include revitalization of two terraces and a courtyard garden, serving the Centre’s wards.

Ginnie Abubakar, the Trust’s community engagement manager, initiated the project, with support from the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, after attending a talk about green gyms and realising that what their site lacked in indoor space, it more than made up for in outdoor space. In a staff survey, 90% said they would like to make more use of green space at their workplace. The hospital is 15km from Heathrow Airport, and is undertaking the work with a grant from the Heathrow Community Fund, together with the efforts of volunteers.