Former England footballer Joe Cole has launched a garden designed to promote well-being at a hospital.
Located at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, the garden is planned to be the first of several in the country.
The aim is to allow staff, patients and visitors to “connect with nature” and “rest, reflect and recuperate”.
The project is being supported by Mr Cole and his wife Carly’s 11 Foundation, which works with charities on community initiatives.
Mr Cole played for West Ham United, Chelsea and Liverpool and won 56 caps for England.
He said: “I’m a big believer in the power of nature, even more so when we were all cooped up, for your mental health and well-being.
“When we spoke to our friends and family who work in the NHS we said, ‘What do you think you need?’
“There are another two more being rolled out in London and there will be more.
“It will blossom in the summer, it will grow and it has features like different levels which will help stroke patients with their walking rehab.”
Mrs Cole said: “We recognised that gardens are desperately-needed resources at hospitals to help boost morale, improve mental health and process trauma.
“While some NHS staff will process the impact of Covid-19 over time, many are suffering with bereavement, heightened anxiety, stress and fatigue.”
Sarah Moppett, deputy chief nurse for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “An organisation is only as good as its staff, and our staff are quite tired.
“We don’t have a lot of outdoor space at the QMC and this was just weeds.
“So it is fantastic to have a beautiful garden here because people really have begun to value outdoor spaces during the past six months.”
Created by designer Jo Thompson, the garden is also aimed to be a space to host health and well-being classes, treatments, cognitive therapy, mindfulness meditation and yoga.