Guild Lodge, on the edge of Preston, is a secure mental healthcare hospital, operated by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, with 500 staff and 164 service users. Set in rural surroundings, with plenty of on-site greenery, the health facility has developed several green space initiatives for the benefit of both patients and staff.
A Grow Your Own project, launched in 2013, supplies the hospital kitchens with organic produce while also enabling patients to spend time in peaceful natural surroundings, where they can learn new horticultural skills and may gain paid employment within the site. Staff participate in the project by accompanying patients and by working as volunteers. More recently they have also taken part in staff team-building days, which the project offers for teams across the Trust.
Each of the Guild Lodge wards has its own garden and last year patients and staff took part in ‘Guild in Bloom’, a competition to spruce up these areas, which helped to build ownership of them and a sense of community. There has also been a campaign to encourage an ethos of informal ‘workspace walking’. The idea is that staff should feel free to walk around the site, either alone or with others, during working hours. While this has proved successful it is acknowledged that it can be much more difficult for ward staff to take their breaks as planned and to enjoy green areas in other parts of the site.
Guild Lodge took part be in the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare's research on workplace wellbeing through 2019. Health and wellbeing moved up the agenda at the Trust a few years ago, because of concern about the cost of sick days caused by musculoskeletal disorders. Action to tackle staff absenteeism and improve recruitment and retention was viewed was a particular priority at Guild Lodge, where absence was running above the Trust average.