In Newcastle, our new Nature Recovery Ranger, Sally, works across the Freeman Hospital and Royal Victoria Infirmary, with funding provided by the Newcastle Hospitals Charity.

At this early stage in her post, Sally is making connections with different staff and patient groups across the two hospitals and establishing plans for the integration of green space initiatives into patient care, staff wellbeing and community use. She has a strong foundation to build on, with Newcastle Hospitals leading the way in environmental action, having been the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a climate emergency in 2019, acknowledging the link between the health of our planet and the health of our people.

One of Sally’s first projects is the Green Gym, which was founded on a voluntary basis by two renal clinicians, in partnership with the Northumberland Rivers Trust, several years ago. So far, the Green Gym has seen hospital staff engaged in various conservation activities, including habitat creation, beach cleaning and garden restoration, but is in need of re-invigoration following the pandemic. Sally will increase the scope and frequency of activities, as well as developing a green social prescribing programme to get patients involved, too.

She’s also working to enhance various pockets of green space across the sites, and collaborating with the Physiotherapy Department to improve access to nature for patients. For those who can’t make it outdoors, she’s exploring ways to bring nature indoors, for example by live video links.

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