Staff set out to raise 60K to refurbish children’s garden at Northampton General Hospital

Staff say children and their families use the space as escapism, but it has become ‘run down’

A number of Northampton General Hospital employees will take on a lengthy walk to kickstart a fundraising campaign to pay for a refurbishment of the site’s children’s garden.

Nurses, doctors and other staff from the Paddington and Disney wards at the Cliftonville hospital are set to walk the distance between the namesakes of the wards during the first weekend of May.

Paddington Station in London and Disneyland Paris are more than 300 miles apart, but staff are keen to individually clock up the miles, between shifts and while abiding by lockdown restrictions.

The team, who were inspired by the enthusiasm of two Northampton College students who did the same challenge before the first lockdown last year, is hoping the mammoth walk will help them to raise money towards the £60,000 total.

Money raised will go towards refurbishing the children’s garden at the hospital, which is often used as an escape for children who are in hospital for a long period of time and their families.

Liz Jenkins, junior sister on Paddington Ward and part of the fundraising team, said: “A lot of children have to stay in hospital for long periods of time with cancer and other illnesses.

“Them and their families use the garden space so much, but over the years it has become quite run down.

“It is also right in the middle of the hospital so it’s difficult to access, which is why it is going to be so expensive to refurbish.”

The plan for the garden is to refurbish the whole thing and include areas for reflection, as well as areas for play.

Liz added: “We want to refurbish the whole thing to make it peaceful and tranquil. Especially with children being in hospital, we also want to make it as fun as possible.

“It’s not too big, but it is big enough to make it an inviting space.

“We want to give the children and their families somewhere to escape from being in hospital for so long.”

In total, around 25 members of staff will take on the challenge in a few weeks time, all of whom are hoping to add to the hospital’s fundraising total so the work can be completed on the children’s garden.

To support the fundraiser and make a donation, visit the team’s JustGiving page here.