Green Flag awarded to Royal Edinburgh Hospital gardens

26 October 2021
Green Flag REHCG

The Royal Edinburgh Hospital, where Cyrenians runs our community hospital garden, has been awarded a Keep Scotland Beautiful Green Flag Award acknowledging green spaces that help to boost health and wellbeing. This makes the Royal Edinburgh the first hospital in Scotland to achieve this. 

Tracey McKigen, Services Director for the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Associated Services in NHS Lothian, said:

“I’m really delighted that our hospital has received this award as it shows how much work goes into looking after our beautiful greenspaces. 

These areas are very important to us in NHS Lothian as they enable both our staff and patients to connect with nature, which helps with mental and general wellbeing."

The international Green Flag Award is designed as a benchmark for good outdoor recreational spaces. The award celebrates and supports the opportunities that they provide for exercise, play and mental wellbeing – something that has been particularly important to everyone over the last 18 months. A total of 2,127 parks across the UK have achieved the award this year, including the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. 

Barry Fisher, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said; 

“Spending time in nature can be good for people’s health and wellbeing, and merely living in a greener neighbourhood can be good for health. The Green Flag Award recognises the valuable, and tangible contribution that these parks make towards the nation’s well-being.” 

This vital contribution to health underlies our community garden, which makes up a large part of the grounds recognised by the award. The Hospital Community Gardens focus on welcoming people experiencing mental or physical health problems, disadvantage, isolation or poverty, offering opportunities to grow food, socialise and improve general health and wellbeing. Our teams deliver gardening outreach sessions to inpatients, outpatients and the local community, and provide placements for students of Allied Health Care settings, Horticulture, Garden Design and Outdoor Education. One occupational therapy instructor said; 

"The Orchard Clinic’s gardens have been greatly improved by the patients that attended the sessions. Where weeds grew we now have potato plants. 3D art tends to find its way into the garden areas, and patient photography benefits from a greater awareness of what’s around the hospital grounds."

"The group is greatly appreciated and the benefits to the patients and clinic are evident.” 

We are extremely proud of everyone who has been part of developing this beautiful space and being part of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital’s historic achievement.

Tracey McKigen said; 

“This award was only possible with the support and contributions from the whole hospital community, so I would like to thank everyone involved for their ongoing hard work to support our natural areas.

As the site evolves to meet future healthcare needs our greenspace management plan will ensue nature continues to be at the heart of the site.”