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Wellbeing garden opens in Basildon

Date: 29 November 2021

Picnic benches, plant and wall mural in Basildon Wellbeing Garden

Basildon station has formally opened a new wellbeing garden for staff, featuring a memorial bench dedicated to former colleague Neil Ruch. 

The garden is the latest in a series of health and wellbeing projects being carried out across the Trust, which include a number of wellbeing gardens at stations across the region. All the projects are being funded by a grant from the Captain Sir Tom Moore donations which were collected during the pandemic and distributed to all NHS organisations by NHS Charities Together.

The projects are being overseen by the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) Charity, with support from the Charitable Funds Working Group which was formed from a cross-section of Trust volunteers. The group identified projects to make use of the grant, with the aim to benefit health and wellbeing in addition to thanking staff and volunteers for their outstanding effort during the pandemic.

The Basildon garden features a flagpole and a commemorative bench, dedicated to EEAST colleague Neil Ruch. Neil was a Senior Paramedic who lost his life to COVID in 2020. The bench is engraved with the words ‘Continue to live the dream, look after each other and above all stay safe.’

It also includes a mural along one wall which was designed and painted by staff member, Mel Newing and Les Cuthbert, formerly of EEAST. Thanks also goes to Angie Levine, the wife of an EEAST staff member who re-potted and arranged the plants. 

Adrian Bell, currently on secondment with the Tactical Operations Centre (TOC), headed up the project. He said: ‘It was a real honour to be part of this, and the fact that the garden was designed and created by staff and their family members who are linked to Basildon makes it even more special. The wellbeing gardens project is making a real difference to staff.’

Mike Bates, Basildon AGM, said: ‘It is great to see the garden open and being used by staff during their breaks. It’s so important that they have somewhere to take time out and reflect, particularly after a difficult shift and the garden really does provide a little haven away from the bustle of the main station. We need spaces like this to take a few minutes, whether it's to decompress or have a chat with a colleague. It really is invaluable.’

The wellbeing gardens project began as a way to enhance outdoor space at stations across the region and provide a dedicated area for staff and volunteers to have space to relax and enjoy.

The first of the wellbeing gardens was opened on Friday 13th August at Longwater depot in Norwich.

EEAST’s Charity operates for the benefit of staff, patients, and volunteers. To find out more visit Charitable fund

  • Summary:

    Basildon station has formally opened a new wellbeing garden for staff, featuring a memorial bench dedicated to former colleague Neil Ruch.