A cherry blossom tree was planted today in the special garden for reflection and remembrance that has been created outside Walsall Manor Hospital.
The garden, which was installed just over a year ago, is for staff who have lost colleagues and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chair of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Professor Steve Field, planted the tree which has been bought by Unison, watched by colleagues including former Walsall Healthcare Non-Executive Director John Dunn.
He said: “Staff told us that they wanted an area where they could reflect and take some time out whilst remembering the colleagues we sadly lost during the pandemic as well as their own loved ones.
“Thanks to the efforts of our Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley, through our Well Wishers charity, we’ve been able to provide this.”
Donations made through the Well Wishers COVID-19 Fund set up by the Trust’s charity and support from Walsall Hospitals Company Plc, helped get the project off the ground. As well as two arches and benches it features an area that houses hand painted stones that represent remembrance, reflection or positivity and were part of a local event held in May 2020 for staff and the community.
Professor Field added: “As we adjust to living with COVID-19 the pressures and challenges remain for NHS staff and it’s so important that they can come out of the hustle and bustle of the busy work environment and find a few minutes’ peace.
“I’d also like to thank Unison for kindly purchasing the cherry blossom tree that was planted today – and for the ongoing support it offers around staff health and wellbeing.”
As well as the donations made by the public to the COVID-19 fund, a huge donation from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib and funding from Walsall Hospitals Company PLC helped towards the garden.
Jane Wilson and Pat Usher said on behalf of Unison: “The garden gives our staff a space where they can reflect.
“It has been a tough couple of years, not only for staff nursing patients but for staff who have lost their own family members and friends as well. They need to rebuild after a really difficult period.”