NHS SBS and Birmingham’s Active Wellbeing Society get the gloves on to glam up community wellbeing garden

Leading finance & accounting, digital, procurement and workforce services provider, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), has joined forces with The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) to bring the next leg of one of the Society’s fantastic social prescribing projects – the creation of wellbeing garden at Birmingham’s Victoria Road Surgery, to life.

The pandemic has seen mental health take a massive toll on people’s lives with many more suffering from anxiety, depression and long-term health conditions.

Part of the NHS Long Term Plan, social prescribing and community-based support is helping reach more patients using non-medical and holistic alternative care solutions. It connects people with alternative ways of addressing and improving their own emotional, mental health and wellbeing through accessing community activities in their local areas.

TAWS provides a bespoke social prescribing service. Its Link Workers work with over 50 different surgeries across Birmingham, to identify and support patients through referral, into a range of non-clinical activities like gardening, volunteering, cookery classes, befriending and to offer practical advice that can make a difference in their lives.

On Thursday 25 August, 14 NHS SBS staff teamed up with TAWS Link Workers to transform the garden at Victoria Road Surgery to a space where patients who are part of the social prescribing project can convene, participate in activities, and have a sense of purpose and belonging.

This garden has multiple purposes – growing edible vegetables, plants with calming properties alongside being a space to relax, reflect and unwind. People can work together, talk to fellow members or work quietly with the support of others around them.

Tanika Marais, Social Values & Community Manager at NHS SBS commented:

“At NHS SBS, our sustainability and social values strategy is centred around healthy people, healthy planet and healthy business, and we have committed to giving all our employees three fully paid volunteering days.

“We have also begun to form team building volunteering exercises centred around health outcomes. Social prescribing, therefore, is a fantastic initiative to support and get behind.

“This is the second social prescribing project we have been involved in and we are immensely proud to be associated with such a worthy initiative that can transform lives.

“It is in direct alignment to our goal as an organisation, which is to reach more patients for the NHS, reduce the NHS backlog, and save money for the NHS. In tandem, support our employees in giving back to communities.

Michelle Howard, Director of Healthy Communities at TAWS commented:

“A huge thank you to NHS SBS staff for their time in helping us to transform the garden. It’s a great example of what you can achieve with a few hours of collaborative effort, and the staff all had fun! The patients now have a wonderful space to relax, socialise and enjoy for years to come.”