The Greener Communities Fund

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The Greener Communities Fund

A hospital with a woodland walkway, an ambulance call centre creating habits for endangered beetles, a health centre with raised beds growing herbs and vegetables... These are just a few of the unexpected nature-friendly spaces created as part of the Greener Communities Fund.

First launched in 2023, the Greener Communities Fund is enabling NHS charities to create more green spaces across the UK – and improve the nation's health in the process. Spending time in nature has been shown to make us feel better and improve our mental health, yet 1 in 5 people in the UK live in areas without access to green space. 

The Fund is a partnership between Hubbub and NHS Charities Together, made possible through the Starbucks 5p cup charge.

What do these spaces mean for patients and staff? Take a look at the impact of one project in Birmingham

What do we know about ‘a daily dose of nature’ ?

Hubbub polling (2023) explored how long people currently spent in green spaces and how it makes them feel. And the health sector is increasingly acknowledging the benefits of nature to our physical and mental health.

  1. Nearly half of people spend less than 3 hours a week in nature

    Our polling showed time spent in a green or natural space such as a garden, public park or countryside was quite low, on average.

  2. Despite ‘nature = happy’ for many

    Yet many said that spending time in nature makes them feel happier, calmer and more relaxed and overall feels good for their wellbeing.

  3. Green space can be unappealing

    After time constraints, people noted barriers to accessing green space being they perceive green space as unappealing or unpleasant.

  4. Healthcare is prescribing nature to improve health and wellbeing

    Called ‘Green Social Prescribing’ it recognises the benefit of nature to our physical and mental health. A £5m UK trial aims to tackle mental ill health through prescribing outdoor activities like walking and gardening.

How we’re creating better access to nature for communities

We know the positive impact spending time in green space can have on our wellbeing. Over the past two years, the Greener Communities Fund has distributed over £2 million pounds of funding to 21 NHS charities around the UK to reimagine healthcare sites as green spaces, and increase access to nature for NHS patients, staff and communities that live nearby.

Introducing the Greener Communities projects

Pilot Projects

Ahead of the Greener Communities Fund launching, Hubbub worked with four pilot projects to provide learnings about greening healthcare spaces and how to engage local groups to access the spaces.


  • Our Health Meadow at Llandough Hospital in Cardiff, a 7 acre ‘health meadow’ of wildflowers and native trees allowed patients, staff, and the community to access green space. But when you live in a climate where you can experience all four seasons in a day, bad weather can be a real barrier to getting out into nature.
  • Greener Communities in Cardiff addressed this by creating more sheltered space in the meadow. Hospital patients and staff as well as local volunteers built two roundhouses using Welsh timber and traditional building methods, adding sheltered spaces on the meadow, and creating opportunities for outdoor activity and social engagement during the process. 

📍Greater Manchester

  •  Green Health Walk is a guided nature walk on Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH)’s Prestwich Site, created by environmental nonprofit Sow the City. The walk has seven differently themed areas to visit, including an orchard, an allotment, bat boxes, and an herb garden. 
  • The project has seen the walk enhanced with additional planting, and developed opportunities for service users, staff and visitors to interact with the space, including training to lead the Green Health Walks and to grow more produce. 


  • The Shields Community Garden, based next to a GP surgery, and Midlock St Garden are green spaces that improve access to nature and support the development of social and green care prescribing pathways.
  • The pilot project worked with local charity Urban Roots to increase engagement in green space activity for South Asian women, and they employed a local female Punjabi/Urdu speaking group facilitator, known as a Greenspace Connector, who encouraged people to get involved in the space. 


  • Sutton Community Garden transformed an unused space along Ply Brook to create an accessible community garden for growing food and encouraging biodiversity and wildlife. Working with urban greening charity Habitats & Heritage and local healthcare services, the garden demonstrated the positive benefits of green spaces for health and wellbeing by hosting sessions for community groups and linking to a local GP surgery.

2023 Projects

📍Birmingham, Parkview Clinic

  • Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital Charity transformed approximately 10,000 sqm of unused outdoor space into a therapeutic woodland space and sensory garden for young people in crisis. Parkview Clinic is a 34-bed inpatient unit for young people aged 11-18 who are some of the most critically mentally ill young people in the West Midlands. The outside space provides a home away from home environment for patients who stay anywhere between 2-3 months to 1+ year. 

📍Cardiff, Lansdowne Surgery 

  • Grow Well is a green social prescribing project by Cardiff & Vale Health Charity that champions the health and well-being of patients experiencing mental and physical health difficulties and social isolation, through therapeutic community gardening. Grow Well delivers year-round, weekly sessions, actively engaging patients at three community gardens across the South West Cardiff Primary Care Cluster (ten surgeries in urban wards with some of the highest health inequalities in Wales). 

📍 West London, West Middlesex University Hospital

  • CWPLUS is creating a Nature Trail hosting 96 green workshops to provide basic growing skills and horticultural therapies. Work is also being done to transform the existing lakeside green space to be used for rehabilitation. Finally, the project will develop 16 virtual green spaces across both hospitals for patients who are unable to or have limited access to green spaces on site. 

📍 Colchester, Colchester Hospital

  • Working in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity is transforming the existing site leading from the car parks to the front of Colchester Hospital to become a community wellbeing garden. The garden has six aims including: co-creating a sustainable wellbeing garden with the community, placing people at the heart of the project (fostering connection), empowering and upskilling participants, enhancing environmental sustainability and developing resilience among participants. 

📍Gloucester, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

  • Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity is creating wildflower spaces and a signposted nature trail to provide a soothing environment where NHS staff and patients can recuperate, recharge and heal. In these spaces they can connect with loved ones and colleagues - and reconnect with nature. The spaces help reduce social isolation, give comfort to long term patients and those in palliative care, and provide a safe space for patients in rehabilitation as they regain mobility. 

📍Aberdeen, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

  • NHS Grampian Charity is developing an ecologically sympathetic green space close to the main entrance of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary at NHS Grampian’s Foresterhill site. The project will increase biodiversity by planting species such as Scotia Meadows seeds/flowers for pollinators as well as native trees to support animals on site. Seating will be provided for patients and staff to take time out for reflection, enjoy nature and biodiversity. Signage with QR codes will provide details on the plants in the area and potential events at the Greenspace area. The area will also provide an opportunity for learning about biodiversity, climate change and green skills development in a creative and collaborative approach. 

📍Preston, Guild Park

  • In partnership with Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust Charity is delivering nine areas of greenspace improvements including the development of a biodiversity space with a wildflower meadow and apiary, the creation of bird habitats and a viewing station, tree planting with safeguards to protect from local animals, and the development of a wetland area. 
  • Work will also be delivered at The Chai Centre based within the community in Burnley with capital works including the development of increased food growing beds, a mini orchard, community composting and an outdoor classroom. 

📍North Tees, University Hospital of North Tees

  • The Kaleidostroke Therapy Garden by North Tees and Hartlepool Together supports nature-based activities for stroke and dementia patients. The garden includes low maintenance sensory planting, raised and moveable vegetable beds, walking rehabilitation tracks for both mobile patients and those in wheelchairs, a sheltered dining area, cognitive learning activities, and a selection of specialist equipment to aid muscle building. 

📍Yorkshire, Yorkshire Ambulance Service

  • Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity are creating a tranquil space that can be used by ambulance staff for breaks, staff and education training such as CPR, biodiversity engagement spaces and food growing as well as providing a space for yoga and learning. It also provides an improved biodiversity space for wildlife on the site. The site includes raised beds for staff to grow vegetables.

2024 Projects

📍Cornwall, Liskeard Community Mental Health Team

  • Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust Charitable Fund will develop a currently unused four-acre site into an active space supporting a daily programme of nature-based wellbeing groups. The project is led by Lighthouse, Cornwall’s lived-experience-led mental health peer support service, and delivered by NHS and community partners. Additions to the site will include an outdoor kitchen, an amphitheatre, allotments, and a woodland space, among others. 

📍Dorchester, Dorset County Hospital

  • Dorset County Hospital Charity will transform a neglected courtyard area next to the Special Care Dentistry Unit at Dorset County Hospital into a sensory garden, providing a much-needed mindful space for children with additional health needs and their carers. A staff gardening club will also be established to increase engagement with nature and support sustainability. 

📍Lanarkshire, multiple hospitals

  • This project is unique in its approach to providing therapeutic greening activities across eight healthcare sites. Lanarkshire Health Board Endowment Funds will engage patients and community members to improve wellbeing through food growing and gardening activities and to enhance and expand green spaces and biodiversity. 

📍Leeds, Chapel Allerton Hospital

  • Leeds Hospital Charity will revitalise a courtyard area (20m2) within the Rehabilitation area of Chapel Allerton Hospital to provide a safe and flexible site for patients and staff to reconnect with nature, and from which horticultural therapy will be delivered to assist patient recovery and rehabilitation. 

📍Bristol, Frenchay Head Injury Therapy Unit

  • Southmead Hospital Charity will create a therapeutic garden to facilitate nature-based rehabilitation for patients recovering at the Frenchay Head Injury Therapy Unit in Bristol. It will also support scaling-up green social prescribing across the Southwest. 

📍Greenwich, Memorial Hospital

  • Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund will develop a mosaic of wildlife habitats across the 7.5-hectare Memorial Hospital site in South East London, significantly increasing overall biodiversity, and providing a much more engaging and safe space for therapy and wellbeing activities. 

📍Stockport, Stepping Hill Hospital

  • Stockport NHS Charity will replace a neglected courtyard area with a relaxing garden where patients who typically have long-term health conditions, dementia or mobility issues can engage in structured outdoor activities and promote their physical and mental recovery. 

📍Tottenham, Haringey Children and Young People’s Health Hub

  • Whittington Health Charity will transform 650m2 of concrete, brick and neglected grass, which sits in the middle of the Haringey Children and Young People’s Health Hub, into a durable, resilient and evolving garden with sensory and exploratory elements, spaces for group activities, a vegetable patch, a wildflower meadow and disability-friendly play equipment.
Check out the learnings from our pilot projects, from getting started to running outdoor activities
Greener Communities Toolkit
A man planting a tree in a community garden. There are people around him also gardening.
Two woman and a child sitting in a community garden and smelling the herb garden.

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