Nurses will be swapping their uniforms for football strips to kickstart a £20,000 community garden project appeal for Walsall stroke rehabilitation patients.
A team from Hollybank House Stroke Rehabilitation Unit in Willenhall is to take on Walsall Lionesses under-13s girls team this Saturday, 3 September at Burntwood Leisure Centre. Kick-off is at 11am.
Around £11,000 has already been raised for the appeal, which was started by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s charity Well Wishers before the COVID-19 pandemic. The match is one of several events being organised to boost the fund towards its target.
Walsall’s Mayor, Councillor Rose Martin, has given her seal of approval to the appeal to create the community garden after she saw an artist’s impression of the plans when she was guest at an open day to announce how the grounds will be transformed.
Under the plans, the current lawn will be replaced with a potting area, pergola, coloured planters, a sensory spot and seating area for patients, their families and staff to not only enjoy the garden but help create and maintain it.
Michelle Awale, 50, Occupational Therapist for the Stroke Rehab Team, is captain of the Hollybank team. The side is made up of occupational therapists, physios, nurses and administration staff from age 35 upwards.
Michelle said: “We’re really excited to be able to now forward plan a garden area that will benefit the rehabilitation of patients. The trustees of the charity are thrilled to support this. All the monies raised from the match will go to the community garden project.
“I’ve never played football before and neither have most of the team so we might have our work cut out, but I’ve got two lads who follow football and I know the basic rules so we’re hoping to give them a good game! We’re hoping to raise about £200 on the day, so every little helps and we’d encourage families to come along to watch.
“The staff are really excited to be taking part and it promises to be a really fun day out for all the family.”
Kay Wright, a Stroke Nurse, has a daughter who plays for the Lionesses, so there will be some family rivalry, as well as familiarity between the teams.
Walsall Lionesses under-13s manager Katie Cox said: “The NHS has always gone above and beyond, even before COVID, and this is our way of supporting them to achieve their goal and hopefully have some fun.
“Our Lionesses are really looking forward to the challenge and meeting the staff who are providing excellent care to stroke patients in Walsall.”
Admission to the game is £1 for adults and 50p for children and there will be refreshments, a cake stall and tombola.