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New ‘secret’ garden opens at Glenfield to honour nurses at Leicester’s Hospitals

21 June 2023

The Daisy Garden, in Glenfield Hospital’s Victorian-walled Secret Garden, was officially opened today by Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dame Ruth May. 

CNO, Ruth May with group in DAISY Garden
CNO, Ruth May with group in DAISY Garden

The Daisy Garden is the latest stage in an ambitious project that began in 2016, to create the ‘Secret Garden’, a green escape in one of the country’s top respiratory hospitals. 

Through the stewardship of University Hospitals of Leicester Estates Team, and with the support of the local community, the Secret Garden, a transformed area of wasteland, recognises the 100-year association with therapeutic care and has created a hospital idyll for patients and staff.

The garden is located at ‘Mansion House’, formally a private residence that became a hospital for returning World War One servicemen to convalesce. By 1923, it became ‘Leicester Frith’ a home dedicated to the health and wellbeing of children and adults with learning difficulties. Today, the garden hosted the graduation celebration of ‘Project Search’, a project aimed at supporting young people with a learning disability and / or autism to enter employment. 

The latest phase of the Garden’s development, The DAISY Garden, was made possible thanks to funding from the National Garden Scheme, a national nursing charity and the support of a local contractor who provided groundworks. The garden is adorned with ceramic daisies, created by local artists Fiona Meagher and Paul Reiley. The daisies commemorate the UHL nurses who have been honoured with a ‘DAISY Award’, an international award that recognises nurses who provide above-and-beyond, compassionate care to patients and families. It is anticipated that all 50 DAISY Award winners will have their own specially-commissioned ceramic daisy in the garden.

Mitchell Howard, a DAISY Honouree and registered nurse associate, is one of the UHL colleagues recognised in the new garden. He said: “Seeing the garden come to life is extraordinary, it is lovely to see nurses who have been recognised for the DAISY award commemorated in a garden that will be seen for years to come.”

The DAISY Awards are one of many programmes the Trust is championing as part of its Pathway to Excellence accreditation journey. The accreditation, once achieved, will indicate formally that UHL has created and maintained a positive practice environment in which nurses and flourish and patients can consistently receive high-quality care. During the visit, Dame Ruth was able to see the progress to date through a roundtable discussion on the future of the workforce and a visit to the Trust’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Chief Nursing Officer for England Dame Ruth May, said of the visit: “This new garden is a spectacular way of celebrating UHL’s 50 DAISY honourees to date, some of whom I’ve enjoyed meeting today. Gardens such as this are great for our wellbeing and mental health and I’m sure that you will all benefit from taking the time to come to visit the space, which is a wonderful tribute to those who have been such shining examples of nursing leadership and expertise.”

UHL Chief Nurse, Julie Hogg, said: “It’s been a pleasure to host Dame Ruth and team and to recognise the many exceptional nurses and midwives at UHL.”