WORK is underway to create two charity funded garden areas for Hampshire NHS staff.

Landscapers have swung into action at both the Western Community Hospital in Southampton and St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth to begin two transformations, creating spaces where hospital staff will be able to “take a well-earned breather”.

The project is costing £109.5k and is funded by NHS Charities Together.

The gardens have also been made possible partly thanks to money raised by former British Army officer, the late Captain Sir Tom Moore, in tribute to the NHS staff in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new gardens, that are expected to be complete in early spring, are aimed at providing an “oasis of tranquillity” for the NHS staff where they can “eat their lunch, have a coffee break or just take some time out of their busy day”.

David Noyes, Chief Operating Officer at Solent NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, said: “We are extremely grateful to receive this funding and be able to create these important and enduring facilities, thanks to Captain Sir Tom and NHS Charities Together.

“The gardens will offer an oasis of tranquillity for our fantastic, highly dedicated and hard-working staff, who I know will look forward to seeing them completed and putting them into use.

“Shifts can be hectic across our busy wards and departments, so these gardens will give colleagues somewhere calm and pleasant to go for some much-needed time out when they need a break.”

Mr Noyes “broke ground” at the Southampton site to formally mark work starting on both garden schemes last week.

Both projects are being carried out by Eastleigh based Scandor Landscape Contractors Ltd on behalf of Solent NHS Trust.